What do I do if my speech processor isn't working?
Please review the troubleshooting guides provided in your user's manual, company website or this website. Be sure to change the batteries, cords and any accessories you may be using. If you determine the processor is not working, call/email your audiologist if you are under warranty and a replacement will be ordered. Once it is ordered, the processor will be programmed and available for pickup or can be mailed if requested. Headpieces and coil/cables can be replaced by calling the manufacturer directly. If you are not under warranty, please see the section insurance/ESCO claims.
What do I do if I, or my child, lost the speech processor?
For patients who lose their equipment, they need to first contact their manufacturer to determine if they happen to be under warranty that includes loss/damage coverage. The implant manufacturer then will let you know what needs to occur to receive replacement equipment.
What do I do if I lose my speech processor and do not have an extended warranty, but have supplemental insurance (ie. ESCO)?
You will need to file a claim by completing the claim form on their website www.earserv.com or calling ESCO at 1-800-992-3726 during normal business hours M-F CST. Once that is completed, it will need to be faxed to 410-614-9167 to get your audiologist signature. The audiologist will then fax the completed form to ESCO.
What do I do if I don't have any loss/damage coverage?
For patients who do not have either warranty loss/damage coverage or ESCO, you will need to contact your health insurance company to inquire about coverage and how to obtaining authorized approval for a replacement. Of note, Johns Hopkins should not be named as the vendor/provider of replacement equipment. The vendor/provider is your implant manufacturer.
Will my insurance cover a Cochlear Implant?
The best way to find this out is to contact your insurance company directly and ask if your policy covers procedure code 69930*. *Note: This is the current procedure code that can change over time, so please make sure you have the most up-to-date code.
How much will my insurance pay?
We are unable to provide you with exact numbers as each policy/insurance company can be different. Please contact your insurance company directly and have a good understanding of your policy. Cochlear implants are done on an outpatient basis.
How much money will I be required to pay?
We are unable to provide actual amounts as there is no way for us to know what each insurance plan covers at time of surgery. Also, surgery amounts, as well as various surgical services, can change. You need to be aware of your deductible, co-pay, or co-insurance, obligations prior to going into surgery.
Do I need a referral or authorization for surgery?
Johns Hopkins has a pre-certification department. Approximately 1 week prior to surgery, Johns Hopkins pre-certification department will contact your insurance company. Johns Hopkins' pre-certification department will obtain any referrals or authorization required for surgery.
Are activation appointments included in the surgery cost?
No. Surgery costs include the internal device, surgical fees and Operation Room (OR) fees as well as the external devices. The follow-up activation appointments are each billed separately and likely will need separate referrals.
1). Can I take a shower or go swimming after I get a cochlear implant?
Yes, the cochlear implant is placed underneath the skin. However, the external processor needs to be removed just like with a hearing aid.
2). How much hair will be shave off to do the surgery?
Typically, the surgeons only shave about 2-3 inches of hair off around the ear. Most of the area will be covered by the longer hair on top of your head so it isn’t all that noticeable.
3). What does an implant sound like?
This is a tough question to answer as the answer can vary for each patient. Some of the most common descriptions we hear from patients are “beeps,” “mechanical,” “cartoonish,” “alien-like,” “someone talking under water,” “someone talking with marbles in their mouths,” “tinny,” “echo-like” and for some folks they may feel pulses before they even hear the sounds. The important thing to realize is that the sounds will get better over time and often an odd sound quality will change as your brain better understand what it is hearing. There is no way to predict how an individual will respond with a cochlear implant. It is helpful to talk to as many current cochlear implant users’ as possible to better understand how it works.
4). How frequently do I need to come for appointments after I get an implant?
The cochlear implant is a lifelong commitment. Following surgery, the cochlear implant requires frequent appointments for programming or mapping. On average, the cochlear implant will require programming about every 3-6 months in the first year, and about every 6 months thereafter for optimal listening. For those patients who have had their implant 2-3 years, most of those patients can continue on an annual basis.
5). I can’t understand in large groups or noisy situations, will the implant fix that?
Simple answer is no, the implant user will likely still have a lot of frustration and difficulty when listening in large groups or noisy situations. However, a cochlear implant user may find that over time their ability to communicate in those situations gets easier as they have greater access to information and their brain can ignore some of the noises they don’t want to hear.
6). Can I sleep with an implant on?
No, the implant likely will come off during sleep and could get damaged. It is recommended that the cochlear implant user remove the device prior to going to bed. If you live along, please consider additional assistive listening devices for alerting purposes.
7). Can I use assistive listening devices such as an FM system or T-coil neckloop with a cochlear implant?
Yes, as long as you have the appropriate patch cord to communicate with the device you are trying to use.
8). Can I fly in an airplane?
Yes, you’ll need to carry your cochlear implant identification card with you for security as you will set off the security detectors. See Travel Tips for more information. Provided there are no surgical complications, most patients can resume airline travel within a week or two of surgery. However, it may be best to discuss this topic further with your implant surgeon.
1). Can I get an MRI?
Simple answer is NO. Some of the devices do have limited compatibility with MRIs, but you should always consult your surgeon to discuss if this option is available to you. In most cases, a high resolution CT scan will be sufficient.
2). Can I get an x-ray?
Yes, x-rays are fine. Just remove the external equipment.
3). My behind the ear speech processor doesn’t feel secure or falls off frequently, how can I better secure it? Depending on the device, there are some options for you to better secure the device:
- Hair tape: This can be placed on the processor on the side that is closest to the head and it will stick to the skin helping to hold it in place. Works great but can get a little goey.
- Ear molds: While most folks would prefer not to wear an ear mold, this is a nice option to anchor the device in the ear for active patients who like sports. The ear mold can be a simple skeleton mold with open vents to reduce the “plugged up” feeling.
- Huggies: These are stretch tubing that encircle the ear and attach to the processor by using a stretch band. For some devices, these may be called Mic locks.
- Critter clips: This is an option that doesn’t help keep the device on, but catches it if it falls off before it hits the floor. Basically, it is a claw clip attached to a string. The string is secured around the cable portion of the processor and the clip to your shirt.
4). How can I better secure my body worn speech processor?
See ideas for how to wear my speech processor. (#3)
5). My ear hurts from wearing the speech processor, why and what can I do about it?
It isn’t uncommon to hear that the ear is sore especially in the beginning. This is due to the fact that a speech processor is often heavier than a hearing aid. To ease the discomfort, we recommend getting some MOLE SKIN. This is located in the drug store in the foot section. Mole skin is used most commonly to prevent blisters on your feet, but works great on the ear too. You simply need to trim it to the size you need, stick it to the processor and put it on. Typically, the ear will “toughen up” so that the mole skin won’t be needed all the time, but in the beginning it is very helpful.
6). Where can I get replacement batteries or parts for my cochlear implant?
Most parts/batteries are manufacturer specific so please contact your cochlear implant manufacturer for assistance.
Tips for CI users for choosing Cell Phones:
1). Is there a recommended cell phone for use with implants?
No, there is not one recommended cell phone for implant users. Most users will need to go and try various phones at a store before buying one they feel works best for them. There are several factors that can interfere with compatibility.
If using a T-coil, please try to get a phone that has a M3/T3 or M4/T4 rating as set by ANSI. The below PDF is courtesy of Cochlear Americas and was published in 2006. It describes compatibility as it relates to Cochlear devices.
Please contact your cochlear implant manufacturer for additional information and assistance in this area. The following link is an article from 2006 that discussed t-coil compatible phones. Of note, as technology improves and changes, these recommendations may also change. Please use these information sources as guides only.
Currently we are updating our new troubleshooting guides. Below are the active guides listed. We will continue to update and add new guides as we receive them. The user guides for each device are available at each company's website(s) Thank you.