Getting back to work after cochlear implant surgery

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Dr. Chad Ruffin

ENT Doc and CI Surgeon

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Getting back to work after cochlear implant surgery

Surgical healing after cochlear implant (CI) surgery takes about a week. The real question is how you function on the job while a cochlear implant is coming online. Many times, early hearing with a CI sounds terrible. Be patient, it takes a few weeks or months to get past this. Lipreading often starts pretty soon after CI surgery. On average, it takes 3 to 6 months for hearing without lipreading to improve. Most people take an entire year to get fully online with their new hearing.

Until then, here are some ideas that use your new CI at work.

Situation #1: Hearing "out and about" where there's background noise. Talking to someone in the same room as you.

  • Activate your noise program if you have one. They work best when the noise is behind you. So place the loudest noise source behind you.
  • Experiment with where you sit. Sometimes facing a wall is better (see above). In other environments, it's better to sit against the wall.
  • Use a remote microphone.
  • Try a speech to text app on your phone such as Live Transcribe by Google. The iOS version has the same name. There are many more, so check out this excellent resource. These apps often function better if you use pair a Bluetooth microphone with it.

For teleconferencing, you can incorporate captioning services. You can also practice these techniques before surgery. This can make the transition more smooth.

  • Use a speech to text or autocaption app directly on your computer.
  • Innocaption can provide autocaptions for teleconferences that provide a dial in number. If the autocaptions aren't great, then you can press a button to call in a human captioner. To do this, download the Innocaption app to your phone. Then connect to your meeting from your computer as you normally would. Finally, dial into the conference with the Innocaption app.
  • You may dial in to your conference with a traditional telephone relay service. This service will transcribe what is being said.

Please contact us if you have your own tricks!

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Dr. Ruffin was the first person in over 10 years to actually take the time to really listen to me. He took the time to figure out what’s actually going on without chalking it up to something simple and sending me on my way.

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I really appreciated Chad's honesty with options, having surgery being a last result and most of all explaining everything in layman's terms. I couldn't be happier with my experience and really appreciate him getting to the bottom of my ear issue and making it feel better than it ever has!

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Dr. Ruffin was incredibly knowledgeable, thorough and compassionate. He took the time to fully understand the issues and was able to provide immediate relief. Nothing short of a miracle here. Furthermore, the entire team was very kind and professional. One of the best medical experiences I have had!

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