Lisa and Christopher B. were ecstatic to have their first child. Two days into the throes of parenthood, they learned their little boy, Carson, didn’t pass his newborn hearing test. Having no connection to hearing loss, the new parents were stunned, confused, sad and worried about their child’s future. Find out how this family decided on cochlear implants, why they chose Cochlear and how Carson is excelling today:
“We found out about Carson’s hearing loss when he was two days old. During our second day in the hospital, the nurses came in to do the newborn hearing screening. Carson is our first baby, so we just figured this was just part of the routine. He did not pass it. We were told it may be fluid in his ears, and they would re-check before we were discharged.
At the re-check, he still did not pass, so we were instructed to bring him back at two weeks old to re-test again. When Carson was two weeks old, we were sure the ‘fluid’ was gone. We went back to the hospital, ready to get our passing result and head back home with our beautiful new baby. However, we were surprised to find out the ‘fluid’ was still present, and at this point we were referred to a pediatric ear nose and throat (ENT) doctor for a more in-depth test.
A few weeks later, we went to the ENT, and Carson had an ABR test, which measures the brain’s response to sound (the baby has to be completely asleep for this). We found out he did not have fluid in his ears, but he had a moderately severe hearing loss in his right ear and a severe to profound hearing loss in his left ear. They told us he would need hearing aids to hear properly, and if they were not enough for him, he may be a candidate for cochlear implants.
This is not the news any new parent wants to hear or expects to hear. We left feeling so many emotions… stunned, confused, sad and worried about the future, just to name a few. We have no history of hearing loss on either side of our families, so this came as a complete shock. We spent the next few months going through various emotions: denial, grief and finally acceptance.
At four months old, Carson received his hearing aids. We began his hearing aid trial to see if they would allow him to hear within the ‘normal’ hearing range. At six months, we started going through tests in the sound booth to see what levels he was hearing. After we completed the hearing aid trial, Carson’s doctor and audiologist gave their recommendation: bilateral cochlear implants.
In Carson’s situation, cochlear implants would give him the best hearing possible. The hearing aids were simply not doing enough for him. If we did not go down the route of cochlear implants, he would struggle to hear with the hearing aids. Cochlear Implants would give him access to sound for developing speech and language like any other child. Since this is what we wanted for Carson, the decision was made that day.
A week after his first birthday, Carson had the surgery and received his bilateral cochlear implants.
Throughout this whole process, deciding on getting cochlear implants for Carson was the easy part. The hard part was having to pick the brand that would be with him for the rest of his life.
We learned that there were three companies to choose from, and all three companies had different features and accessories. We did a lot of research and talked to representatives from each company. When we talked to the representative from Cochlear, who happened to be a Cochlear Implant user herself, we just felt at ease. She made the whole process so much easier, and we felt assured we were making the right decision. The longevity and reliability of the company, as well as the customer service stood out to us the most with Cochlear compared to the other two brands.
Carson is luckily able to receive two sets of processors. We chose the Kanso® Sound Processors and the Nucleus® 6 Sound Processors for him. The Kanso intrigued us since it was an all-in-one, off the ear processor. We figured since we got to pick two sets, we could try both styles and see what worked best for him.
His cochlear implants have been activated for four months now, and we love the Kansos! Carson hated his hearing aids, and we had a very hard time keeping them on him; it was a constant struggle. Compared to the hearing aids being behind his ear, the Kanso is a breath of fresh air. He doesn’t take his professors off, and now he is even putting them back on himself, should they get knocked off. We love the simplicity of them. They are so easy to put on and so light weight.
Immediately after Carson was activated, we were sent home with a bunch of equipment and gear, and we knew nothing about any of it. We felt a little overwhelmed and worried we wouldn’t be able to figure everything out. Now, four months in, we know what every piece of equipment is, and it has just become part of our lives.
The minute Carson wakes up, his ‘ears’ go on, and we start our day. It was hard to get used to it at first, but now they are a part of him. We are so thankful for this amazing piece of technology that has given our child access to sound and the ability to develop speech and language with his peers.
In just four short months since activation, we are so amazed at the benefits we are already seeing. Carson knows his name and turns to it almost constantly. He knows what ‘No’ means. He says ‘Up, Up,’ ‘Ouch,’ ‘Whee’ and ‘Uh oh,’ and vocalizes back several ling sounds. He is dancing to music and singing along with us when we sing him songs. His receptive language has grown so much, and he understands a lot of what we say to him. He also is quickly catching up with his expressive language. Musical toys that used to make us sad, because he couldn’t hear them, have become our favorite toys now.
We are no longer worried about Carson’s future, instead we are so excited for it. We are enjoying this toddler stage with so much to teach him and so much for him to learn. We are confident that his hearing loss will not hold him back at all, thanks to his Cochlear Implants. The sky is the limit for Carson, and we can’t wait to see all that he accomplishes and where he goes in life.”