It wasn’t the news we were hoping for but it was the news we expected. Rebecca’s left cochlear implant is continuing to progressively fail (more info on the failure here). Today we went to her Audiologist and a significant reduction in performance was noticed in her left side relative to her last visits results.
We were already aware that two electrodes were pretty much useless but now another has also shown signs of degradation. All of the electrodes are adjacent to each other and they help to make up the mid range frequencies of normal hearing. Because of the significance of the failure and how it is impacting Rebecca’s hearing a decision was made to turn these electrodes off. There are programmatic techniques that can help to overcome the loss of electrodes and our audiologist was able to use those techniques to improve Rebecca’s speech recognition temporarily. As a result of this program adjustment Rebecca’s hearing has changed significantly and she is now reporting that her voice sounds funny, and she continues to ask us for help. Its heart breaking to hear her ask for help knowing that there is nothing we can really do. And its infuriating to know that there is a bad medical device implanted in her skull that is progressively failing which clearly wasn’t ready to go to market.
The following chart shows the 16 electrodes for her right side implant. Each time we visit the audiologist they perform and impedance test n each electrode, we took that data and plotted it over time for each electrode and as you can see there is a dramatic change in electrode number 9, 10, 11, and possibly 12. Impedance changes like this are not supposed to happen and likely this is a result of the progression of moisture (bodily fluid) into the device.
The problem was first reported to us on 01/23/2020 as it was noticed that there was a progressive decrease in impedance on electrodes 9 and 10. In today’s follow up you can see that the impedance in electrode 11 is also dropping which is a strong indicator of electrode failure due to moisture ingress. These electrodes (9,10,11) have now become useless and therefore we made the decision to turn them off and map (program) around them. What we can also see from the report however is that channel 12 appears to be on its way to failure as well. Time will tell if this channel (electrode) will also fail, I suspect it will.
We ultimately need a full report from the manufacture before making any decisions on next steps as this is just our own analysis at this time. We should have additional information in the next couple of days from the manufacture of the device.
As always this determined little girl was a trooper today and sat through hours of testing.