After Ella was born deaf, her family was surprised as deafness had not run in the family. Immediately her family was determined to make sure she would be able to grow up like other kids her age who did not have hearing loss. Ella’s family decided to pursue hearing solutions from Cochlear, which Ella is incredibly grateful for. Read her story that she wrote about the difference cochlear implants made on her life:
“My name is Ella and I was born in 2007 in Woodbridge, Virginia. I was a perfectly healthy baby with no complications during pregnancy or birth, but doctors quickly discovered that I had 100 percent bilateral hearing loss. I was, and still am, the first person in my family to be deaf. We did lots of testing to figure out why I was born this way, but we never did figure out why.
My hearing solution journey started at 3 months of age when I was fitted with hearing aids. Since I was completely deaf, hearing aids just didn’t work for me at all. My parents had never heard of the company Cochlear, but started exploring all options for me. They decided that having surgery for cochlear implants was my best chance at hearing. My ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor did the surgery and at the time, I was the youngest patient he completed the procedure on. I had the first surgery on my right ear just after my 1st birthday in 2008 and then it was activated mid-March. It wasn’t until a full year later when I got a cochlear implant for my left ear, which was the week I turned 2.
Finding a place to thrive
Our next challenge was finding a preschool program that would help provide listening and spoken language outcomes for children with hearing loss. We looked everywhere, but the closest place to us was six and a half hours away in a small town called Huntington, West Virginia. The program began when the program director had a child who was born with bilateral hearing loss just like me. This director and several others began the very first preschool program in West Virginia that would teach deaf children to listen, learn and speak. I met my audiologist there when I was only 6 months old, and she taught me how to listen and speak.
As of right now, I have the Nucleus® 6 Sound Processors and I love to use the True Wireless™ Mini Microphone. The Mini Mic allows me to clip it to my teacher’s nametag or shirt and it will pick up on her voice, so I can hear her better with no distractions from other noises in the classroom. I also use it at home to connect to my devices using the True Wireless capabilities, which helps me noise cancel my parents, brother and pets when I need to concentrate.
I entered school at the same age as other kids in my grade, fully ready to learn. When I was in the 3rd grade, my IEP went from deaf to gifted. I am in the gifted classes, and I take advanced math and advanced language arts. When I am not at school, I enjoy running with my cross-country team, swimming for my swim team, making bracelets, riding bikes and playing with my neighbors.
The difference cochlear implants made
As I am entering the 8th grade, I started to realize that my life would be completely different if it wasn’t for Cochlear. It shocks me and my family how well I can communicate with other classmates and kids my age. Whenever I meet someone new, they always say to me, ‘Wow, you’re deaf? I would have never guessed that! You communicate so well that it’s shocking!’ Every time I hear that, it makes me think that Cochlear really has shaped my life, and without them, it would be nothing like it is today.
If you are a family looking for a solution to allow you or your child to be able to hear, I think Cochlear is an option worth considering. It may have been a long journey to get to where I am today, but it has all been so worth it!”
If you or your child share a similar experience to Ella’s and want to learn more about the difference cochlear implants can make, start your journey here.