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Who are YOU?

The past few weeks has been amazing!! I have been hearing from so many people who are interested in the Esteem, and I've been steadily making some great friends. I only wish that, as a child, I could have gotten to know so many people who could actually relate to me. Which leads me to my question - Who are YOU??

If you're reading this, chances are you have a hearing loss, and you're researching alternatives to hearing aids. Could you please take a moment to leave a comment and tell me why you're here? Are you hearing impaired? Or are you looking for more information for a loved one? Are you researching other alternatives to hearing loss? Or are you interested in the Envoy Esteem and simply looking for more information? Maybe you've even already had the surgery.

You don't have to create an account to post a comment, you can even post an anonymous comment. I would really love to hear from you!


( 48 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 4th, 2010 07:54 pm (UTC)
You Asked
I want to read about your experiences with the Envoy Esteem, your ups and downs, the good, the bad and the ugly. I am hard of hearing and have been for all my life. I've worn hearing aids since I was 4 but I'm really getting tired of them.

I have been in contact with Envoy and now I'm just waiting on insurance and job change before I move on. Turns out Aetna will cover the Esteem. :)
Aug. 6th, 2010 06:02 pm (UTC)
Re: You Asked
Thank you for sharing! That's really awesome that your insurance will cover the Esteem, please keep me updated on the process. I'll gladly help with any questions, good luck!!
Nov. 1st, 2010 02:10 pm (UTC)
I am in the process of getting the Esteem implant and noted you comment on Aetna providing insurance. I asked Envoy about this since they say there is no insurance coverage and probably will never be because traditionally medical insurance does not cover any type of hearing aid. The explaination is that Aetna is apparently covering the Esteem ONLY if the patient has a recognized medical condition that makes it impossible to physically wear external hearing aids. Those patients are probably rare. A suggestion would be that you call Envoy and ask about your particular condition to see if waiting on Aetna coverage is an option in your case.

I hope this helps.
Dec. 10th, 2010 11:05 pm (UTC)
Re: Insurance

Thanks for the info! I understand that Aetna probably won't ever cover hearing aids, but they actually have a document clarifying that they don't consider the Esteem Implant a hearing aid.

I figure I'll start the process and submit the request to Aetna. That will probably lead to a denial and I'll try a letter explaining that they cover cochlear and this is pretty much the same procedure, it's cheaper and actually less invasive than cochlear. We'll see.

Someone has to start the process right? :)
Aug. 16th, 2010 08:39 pm (UTC)
Esteem for Hearing Loss
My 94 year old mother has bilateral hearing loss and has worn hearing aids for ten plus years. Through Rush Limbaugh's radio announcement,I learned of Envoy and your product, Esteem.

Aug. 19th, 2010 04:04 am (UTC)
Great Blog

Is Esteem like the old Soundbridge-- chickened out when they started talkng about brain stem.

Rchard the Lawyer in FL
Sep. 9th, 2010 01:19 am (UTC)
Envoy Phase 1 vet
So glad to see that you are doing well. I always keep tabs on the envoy as I was one of the phase 1 subjects in Seattle. Unfortunately, it didn't work out for me and we had to remove it. Maybe it was phase 1 (this was like 2004...) or maybe it was my anatomy, who knows. I wonder if someday I might try again. We'll see!
Sep. 18th, 2010 12:13 am (UTC)
Thank you for your telling your journey. I have scheduled to have the implant placed and of course have had doubts. You have helped in letting me proceed.

Sep. 27th, 2010 02:00 am (UTC)
Thanks for this blog. I'm in the beginning stages of looking in to the Esteem. It sounds like such a great implant. I actually got tears in my eyes reading your blog- how exciting to be hearing things for the first time. I've had a loss since I was two- I'm sure I'm missing more than I know! I have a question about recovery time- how long did it take you to get back to your normal routine. Do you use a hearing aid in the surgery ear until it's turned on? I have so many questions :-). Thanks for any input!
Oct. 2nd, 2010 05:07 pm (UTC)
How about an update on Tony? :-)

Nov. 1st, 2010 04:15 am (UTC)
Your experience with the Esteem.
Hello Mandy,

I made this comment before in probably the wrong location to be noticed by you so I am repeating it here with some addition in your recent writings. Hope you don't mind.

I saw you and your sister's video on the Envoy Medical web site some time ago but just now stumbled into your journal. Relating your experience has been the most informative of the information I have found.

I have been evaluated as able to utilize the Esteem implant and I am now in the process of arranging to receive the Esteem Implant procedure. I am scheduled to have the implant December 9, 2010. I have what Envoy considers severe sensorineural loss in both ears. Therefore I have to fly 2800 miles to have the implant by who they consider their most experienced and qualified doctor. I am going along with that extra expense since I don't want to short change the chances of success by cutting corners.

I have been struggling with hearing aids of one type or another for 30 years and never found them much more then annoying. Even with the $6K hearing aids I have now I still have lot of difficulty understanding what is being said. I can never be sure the word said is the word I hear. The possibility that the Esteem implant can increase the word understanding level is of the most interest for me. It is also said to help in noisy conversation situations beyond what traditional hearing aids can handle. What you have written seems to indicate that your experience confirms this.

Your surgery seems like a difficult experience compared to what is described being done now. When talking to the doctor and Envoy one gets the idea the surgery is not a big deal now. I wonder if they have advanced their technique that much since your trial experience.

Also, you have a picture of yourself on your journal after surgery that you say is too dark and is too dark to see what you are trying to show. I saved and enhanced the photo so that the details are now visible. If you would like this enhanced photo I will be glad to send it to you if you make a method available.

Thanks for making the effort to explain your experience with your Esteem implant. As I said, it is very informative, especially the pictures of the surgery site itself.

Continued good hearing,
Feb. 11th, 2011 05:44 pm (UTC)
Re: Your experience with the Esteem.
Dennis... did you have your surgery? Has it helped? I am doing research for my father and want to hear that Esteem was the miracle we all want it to be, but I donot want my dad to be disappointed yet again, as the quality of his life deteriorates with his continued hearing loss. I hope you had good results, but please be honest.
Pat... the daughter who misses talking to her dad.
Nov. 3rd, 2010 07:47 pm (UTC)
fellow esteem implantee
I was so exited to see your blog. I was implanted on September 16 of this year and got activated on this past Monday, November 1, 2010. It is was a relief to read your experiences and know that somebody else went through it and came out on the other side feeling happy about it. I am a little overwhelmed right now but I am so excited and already I think I made a great decision! Thanks for all your posts!
Kerry Anne McGuire (age 28)
Feb. 11th, 2011 05:48 pm (UTC)
Re: fellow esteem implantee
Kerry Anne.... are you still happy with your implant? I am trying to get honest, credible information for my dad who is becoming more and more isolated from the world. Something I know all hearing impaired people suffer from. We all need friends and social contacts, and being hearing impaired, makes that more difficult than the hearing undersatnd. Thank you.
Nov. 22nd, 2010 04:51 pm (UTC)
Hi Dennis

I am very curious to hear about your experience with the Esteem because I am in similar situation and you. I have used hearing aids for 3 decades (age 32) and I am not satisfied with my hearing performance using hearing aids.

Please write to me if you happen to see this.



Nov. 30th, 2010 10:00 pm (UTC)
well, as u say, we are often regarded as snobbish and conversations are just so much of a struggle. I am just wondering how I can improve my self esteem. I don't have the money to do sthg like you did and I don't want it. Is it not possible to cope somehow in a nice an attractive way with hearing aids? I wonder.
Dec. 11th, 2010 08:35 pm (UTC)
thanks Mandy
I was just implanted this week and found you via the Envoy Facebook group. It was a tensse and stressful month deciding to do this. i live in Pa and flew to Ca to have it done so alot of $ plus the 30,000 had to be taken out of my retirement fund. My Empire insurance would not even cover the cat scan needed to be done to see if I was a candidate. It will all be worth it if I can hear again!
I had tomretire at age 55 from teaching due to my hearing loss. I have been weari g aids for 30 y,ears but things just kept getting harder and harder to hear. Social situations are no fun but hoping when I get activated in next 8 weeks this will change.
My hea d and ear still are in pain from implant but hoping that will be gone in next few days and that my life will start new this year.
I am going back to read all your entries now
Feb. 11th, 2011 05:57 pm (UTC)
Re: thanks Mandy
I hope you are feeling better than when you wrote this ? blog ? (is this a blog? I am technologically impaired, and don't know the correct terms...) But my hearing hasn't completely deteriorated, so I do not qualify yet as being hearing impaired (although my children would disagree). I do however pain for my dad's deteriorating hearing. Even as an adult, I miss his listening and feedback on life's trials and tribulations. Has Esteem helped or just emptied your wallet and hope for hearing again?
Jan. 18th, 2011 12:00 am (UTC)
provides access
thanks for the inspiration I was stressed by work but i learnt that life is about living to the fullest and enjoying every moment.Thanks a million
Feb. 11th, 2011 05:36 pm (UTC)
my dad can't hear
My father has been losing his hearing progressively for the past 20 years. We can no longer talk on the telephone due to his hearing loss and although his hearing aide specialist has done great things for him, he is becoming more and more isolated from the world... he was always an outgoing, friendly man, but is becoming more and more frustrated with his inabilty to talk with people, and as a relatively healthy, energenic man of 77, is becoming more isolated. Can Esteem help him, or just deplete his retirement funds without improving the quality of his life. Money is less important than the quality of one's life and being able to participate in life has no price tag. Please offer honest information about Esteem. Sad Daughter
Apr. 10th, 2011 08:09 am (UTC)
Beneficial info and excellent design you got here! I want to thank you for sharing your ideas and putting the time into the stuff you publish! Great work!

Apr. 12th, 2011 07:43 am (UTC)
I hope you will keep updating your content constantly as you have one dedicated reader here.

Apr. 15th, 2011 04:34 am (UTC)
Excellent post I must say.. Simple but yet interesting and engaging.. Keep up the awesome work!

Apr. 16th, 2011 03:25 am (UTC)
You own a great talent of writing.Best of luck and get going.And yes i have digg your site alreadygone78.livejournal.com .
Sharla Everitt Enlow
Apr. 27th, 2011 05:53 pm (UTC)
Thoroughly enjoyed your blog.
I am in the process of setting up my implant surgery right now. The results of the CT scan should be complete before weeks end and our home equity loan will be processed around May 6 (my b-day). From what I learned when I took a tour of the new Envoy facility in The Woodlands, Texas yesterday, I've been set up to have Dr. Michael Murray perform the surgery! I am excited to the point that last night I dreamt I was having my hair shaved and on the gurney getting prepped for surgery! I was really ticked when hubby woke me up!

Your blog has been so informative for me. Most of it, I cried with anticipation of what life will be like for me afterwards. I really want to go back to college and get a degree.

I've even been asked to consider a before and after video for Envoy on life before and after the Esteem. I am seriously considering doing it.

I want to thank you for all of the time and effort on this blog. Even with the little minor things that happen post surgery, I am not phased a bit. Keep up the great work with the blog and I am going to continue to check back and see if you've posted more.

Mar. 12th, 2012 04:31 pm (UTC)
Re: Thoroughly enjoyed your blog.
hello? how has your live been since the implant?? please be honest. my whole family is sacrifising a lot to get my little sister the surgery. she only has 30 and 40 % hearing. so she's getting one ear. please let me know how yours went.
Mar. 12th, 2012 10:59 pm (UTC)
Re: Thoroughly enjoyed your blog.
I had my Esteem surgery on May 28, 2011 and was activated on July 28th, 2011. I had no complications from the surgery other than it taking longer than expected for the "cement" to set. The whole thing has been life changing.

I am able to hear 24 hours a day and I love hearing new sounds all of the time. Some things I remember, but it takes me a bit to re-remember what they are. LOL

The best thing to ever happen to me was the night that I put my Esteem ear on my cats chest to hear purring. In the background I heard a "thunk, thunk, thunk" and thought that it might be her heartbeat. I called my 12 year old son over and asked him to let me see if I could hear his heartbeat. Lo and behold, I heard a "thunk-a, thunk-a, thunk-a" really loud! I was so overjoyed! This is one sound I've always wanted to hear my whole life---a real live beating heart! And I didn't even need a stethescope!! I cried and cried. My son can see a look on my face that tells him I want to hear it again and he says "OH NO" and leaves the room laughing.

I encourage anyone who is interested to research more about the Envoy Esteem Implant. It has been a godsend for me. I am becoming more social and active and removing myself from my reclusive shell.

If interested, please look up the Envoy Esteem Patients Page on FaceBook. Join others who have had this miracle surgery and ask questions. We love telling others of our experiences and offering insight from real patients.

Sharla Enlow
May. 24th, 2011 12:12 am (UTC)
I am a 40 year old pastor and worship leader/musician. I pastor a church in Oregon. My wife and I have three children (two girls and a boy) I have had severe/profound hearing loss in my left ear for about 10 years. Your posts have been encouraging to me. I have had a hard time finding people with whom I can relate. I would like to find out if my hearing loss can be treated by the Esteem Implant. Thank you so much for your posts. Keep up the good work! :-)
Karen Lee Wiesner
May. 30th, 2011 04:19 am (UTC)
Advisability of this hearing implant????
I'm currently living with the expensive and (excuse me, but pain in the arse), Oticon hearing aides, and I hate them. The dog ate one which had to be replaced. I'm constantly misplacing them, constantly changing batteries and making certain their spotless.....I have an approximate loss of 50 dB (some at 40 some at 60) and find myself not using them as much as possible. Frankly the ONLY thing I've found them good for is when you use the TV attachment that allows you to really hear the programing......then I find them useful. Otherwise, as I said, a pain...

I am going to be 65 and had perfectly good hearing until last year when the doctors used ototoxic antibiotics on me and failed to advise me that intra-tympanic injections of a corticosteroid could obviate the damage of the antibiotics.....most discouraging...

Just wondering if I should go this route, as $30,000.00 is a big chunk of change or wait and see what develops wit stem cells which seem to pose a highly promising cure on the horizon...I'm told my hearing loss is mild to moderate and I can get by without them, but I hate having to ask people to speak up and or repeat what they've said to me...
Jul. 5th, 2011 12:02 pm (UTC)
why don't you update

Today only I had a chance to see your blog.Very nice.

Why dont you update any information for the last one year?

Now you are OK.Feeling good?
Aug. 1st, 2011 09:32 pm (UTC)
Planning on Esteem
We are looking into the Esteem for our 17 year old daughter who has had a severe loss since birth. So far, Envoy says she is a perfect candidate. We are waiting to get in touch with Dr. Sam Marzo in Illinois who would be performing the procedure. Has anyone had experience with him?
Aug. 14th, 2011 08:02 am (UTC)
best sewing machine
This post is very useful for me, much appreciated! :)
Karina Foster-Middleton
Oct. 5th, 2011 04:26 am (UTC)
A few questions.

My name is Karina. My mother has very severe hearing loss in both ears, and has used hearing aids for as long as I can remember. I'm 16, haha. I discovered the Esteem implant as I was meandering through the internet, and I stumbled across your blog! I was wondering if you wouldn't mind answering a few questions?

Was the implant affordable? Did your insurance cover anything?
Did the phone hearing improve at all?
If you don't mind me asking, how old were you when the surgery was performed?
Have you overall been happy with how the implant performs in day to day activities?
What are some problems you experience?
Is there anything you think a person considering the implant would need to think about or know?

Thank you so much. I hope you're doing well!

Oct. 11th, 2011 02:48 am (UTC)
Hello, I am hearing impaired (profound) in my left ear due to the side effect of a medication. I was born with hearing loss in my right ear (my clarity comes from my right ear) I am 54 years old and my hearing loss was sudden in 1995. I have been dealing with conventional hearing aids for 16 years and the quality of life for me is null & void. I am researching & praying for answers so that I don't become recluse. My insurance will pay for a CI if my hearing loss meets the standard set via my insurance. Conventional aids only make things louder with no clarity especially in crowds. I am calling to make an appointment to get the ball rolling to see what my options are. I stumbled across this blog and " I See So I Can Hear" website last Thursday. So I'm still researching. Thanks for taking the time to set up this site!!
Oct. 12th, 2011 08:20 pm (UTC)
I just came across your blog today. Someone told me about the Esteem hearing implant last week and I am trying to research it. I have profound sensorineural hearing loss in both ears and would love to talk to you directly about your experience. Can you email me at mcmillen_shannon@yahoo.com? Thanks!
Oct. 19th, 2011 04:55 am (UTC)
I'm interested but maybe some point down the road

I'm really interested in this new technology. I'm 48 and have had hearing loss for about 25 years. From what I've read the esteem system is very expensive. I would love to get it eventually but it's cost-prohibiting for me now. For now I can only dream about how nice it would be to see a movie and actually know what was going on!!!

Take care -

Nov. 2nd, 2011 03:15 pm (UTC)
Researching Esteem
I'm a 70 male from North Carolina that has hearing loss for years and I'm currently on my third set of hearing aids. I have never been satisfied with hearing aids and I'm considering Esteem. Therefore, I'm doing a lot of research about the product and the implant procedure. During my research I found your blog. Don't know if I'm going to have the implant yet, but I'm definitely considering it.
Mar. 13th, 2012 12:37 am (UTC)
Re: Researching Esteem
Did you ever reach a decision? Always nice to meet fellow NC'ers!
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 13th, 2012 12:36 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm trying to get better about posting! We have a Envoy Esteem Patients Group on Facebook if you'd like to join and talk to other patients or other people who are considering the implant. Hope to see you there! http://www.facebook.com/messages/100001929337682#!/groups/241235109304753/
Dec. 2nd, 2011 11:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you
Dear Mandy:

I just returned to Alaska last night from San Jose, CA after being implanted with the Esteem. I am 62 years old and have suffered hearing loss since my early 20's. I am sure that it resulted from exposure to power tools (I built houses), shooting guns, and loud rock & roll music, all without ear protection. I got my first set of hearing aids in 1982. They were the behind the ear type and were so uncomfortable and unnatural sounding that they eventually ended up in a drawer. Several years later I got the ear canal type. They did not work any better but my dog ate them before they found their way to the drawer. I have had two sets since then with about the same result.

Upon hearing the Esteem device advertised on the radio, I began to take an interest in it. I went on Envoy's web site and read all the information that I could. I called them to find out more and that started the process. I think that without reading your blog about your experience, I would not have been encouraged to follow through and for that I thank you. The local audiologist's tests showed that I would be a good candidate. I got my CT scan while we were on vacation in October in Eugene, OR. It only cost $390 there (of which Envoy covered $350). It was gong to be $1500 in Fairbanks. They forwarded the results to Envoy and to Dr Murray in San Jose for review. (Dr Murray has preformed over 115 of the implant surgeries since FDA approval.) Everything looked good, so we scheduled the surgery for November 29th (2011). We flew to San Jose on the 26th and had appointments on the 28th with the audiologist and Dr Murray. Surgery was the next day. You can imagine that I was apprehensive about having someone drill into my head, but now that it is done, I am really starting to get excited about having it activated the week of January 23, 2012. It's funny, I've been thinking about the operation so much, that I really have not been thinking about how great it will be when it is activated.

I cannot say enough good things about all on the people involved. The group at Envoy have been great to work with. The audiologist in Los Altos (San Jose) and Dr Murray have been just wonderful, as were the Surgery Center staff.

Thank you again for your encouraging blog and I hope to contact you again with an update.

Feb. 26th, 2012 06:28 pm (UTC)
Re: Request info.
I would love to her about your experience since activation!
If you would email me I would love to ask you some questions and see if you feel you received to clarity you were wanting.
Thanks Tina
Mar. 13th, 2012 12:34 am (UTC)
Re: Thank you

I, too, am interested in your thoughts post-activation. I hope you'll post soon! We also have a Facebook group with 47 members: http://www.facebook.com/messages/100001929337682#!/groups/241235109304753/, any patients or hopefuls are welcome to join and share!
Jan. 2nd, 2012 03:27 am (UTC)
i grew up with a hearing loss, about 50% loss each ear. it was hard to grow up being alone all the time because i didn't sign and i didn't fit into conversations either with hearing people and they would often leave me out.
just looking at the esteem for alternative because i need to build a career for myself and i don't see how i am going to do without better hearing for my life and career. i recently got a degree and big fat debt i need to pay back soon and without a job i can't do so. my hearing aids are new but with my hearing loss i want more hearing so i am researching getting the new esteem. write to me if you wish. vhard002@odu.edu *all hard of hearing/deafies are welcomed to email*
Jan. 25th, 2012 06:01 am (UTC)
Fair enough!
I'm 23 years old, graduate from college next week and was just approved last week for the Envoy Esteem implant. I was born with severe-profound hearing loss and have been getting through life with one hearing aid, not hearing much in the other ear. I always turned down the option for cochlear implants, I felt that ruining my cochlear wasn't the route to go, because I believed better technology would come out in the future. And sure enough.. I find out about this implant not long ago!

I have just been sending out the papers and everything to move forward with this. It still doesn't feel like a reality and still sounds too good to be true -- being hearing impaired is such a huge challenge that, I almost don't want to get my hopes up, in case I have to stay this way. I really like reading your blogs, especially the first day your esteem was turned on, and the 2 year anniversary. I can totally relate to everything you have been writing about! It's really awesome that you made this blog site and have been blogging about all of it, just reading through it all makes me feel much better. I am thinking about doing the same thing and blogging about the experience. Anyways, that's it!
Mar. 13th, 2012 12:30 am (UTC)
Re: Fair enough!
Hi, I apologize for getting back to you so late. I, too, wondered if it was too good to be true, but thankfully, it was one of the best decisions I ever made. It's not to say the Esteem works perfectly for everyone. Just research it to death and research some more! I have a group with about 47 Esteem patients and hopefuls on Facebook if you'd like to join and talk: http://www.facebook.com/messages/100001929337682#!/groups/241235109304753/. Good luck on your journey!
Mar. 13th, 2012 12:31 am (UTC)
Re: Fair enough!
Oh, and congratulations on graduating college!!
Mar. 12th, 2012 04:35 pm (UTC)
no answers
why isnt anyone saying how their experience was? everyone asks but i see no answers. please someone let me know!!! its so much money and im so scared of getting my hopes high. it would crush everything i am dreaming of one day achieving. im 23 and have no life but my family. i cant even have a conversation with out feeling stressed. please say your experience!
Mar. 13th, 2012 12:27 am (UTC)
Re: no answers

Speaking for myself - I am terrible about replying to all the comments and messages in a timely manner (I never dreamed I'd get so many responses!). I just posted another patient's experience, and I'm working on getting more from my group of Esteem patient friends. Are there any questions you'd like to ask? Post here, or please join our group on Facebook where you can meet several patients who would be quite happy to talk to you: http://www.facebook.com/messages/100001929337682#!/groups/241235109304753/. Believe me, we all understand your frustrations!
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