Danielle V.’s daughter, Sophia, failed her newborn hearing screening, and after multiple doctor appointments and tests, they learned Sophia had severe to profound hearing loss. When hearing aids were not helping, they learned cochlear implants would be the best treatment option for Sophia to hear. However, one of Danielle’s biggest fears about cochlear implants was the surgery. Find out how Danielle overcame her fears and how Sophia is hearing today because of her Cochlear Implants:

Mom with fears about cochlear implants with daughter and husband

“Born at 40 weeks and three days, Sophia had no known complications in sight. Before going home, the hospital performed a newborn hearing screening where she passed the right ear, but not the left. They then performed the test again and both failed. We were not very concerned, as they stated it could just be fluid from the delivery, but they still made us an appointment before we left with the ear, nose and throat doctor (ENT).

We went to the ENT and the tests were inconclusive. Sometimes one ear would pass, and then the other would fail. We always had hope that she had one ‘good ear,’ and with one hearing properly, she would be okay. Finally, after four different places, we got a complete auditory brainstem response (ABR), which showed that she had severe to profound hearing loss.

We were stunned and heartbroken. As first time parents, we were experiencing a different kind of challenge, as no one in our family had any type of hearing loss.

With the degree of hearing loss she had, she would not be able to hear anything but very loud sounds. At 7 months, Sophia received hearing aids to stimulate her auditory nerve and she began therapy. We thought she was responding well and was even starting to say a few words; however, she eventually plateaued and stopped advancing.

At every booth testing appointment with the audiologist, I would hope that at the end, they would say she was doing better. I never wanted to hear the words, ‘she needs cochlear implant surgery.’

Unfortunately, because of Sophia’s level of hearing loss, the hearing aids could only do so much; she was still unable to hear certain speech sounds. At that point, she became a candidate for cochlear implants.

Cochlear rises to topSophia at a tea party

We were originally torn between two companies, but we decided on Cochlear. We knew that they were the first in the business and their representatives were always so helpful and extremely responsive to any calls we had. In addition, the technology that Cochlear offers is important in this modern age.

At the age of 17 months, Sophia had her first cochlear implant surgery on her left ear. I could not believe that on that same night post-surgery, she was already jumping and running around the house. What amazed me more was the progress she made in just a few months.

At 26 months, Sophia had her second cochlear implant surgery, and she bounced back even better than the first. Cochlear provided us with two huge backpacks with all the accessories needed for Sophia’s Cochlear Nucleus® 6 and Kanso® Sound Processors. It felt like I needed a degree just to understand this new world!

I ended up enjoying learning all the different parts of her sound processors, from changing ear hooks and microphone covers to changing programs. I felt like I graduated from ‘Cochlear University.’ Just seeing the way she was developing made it all worth it in the end. I could not believe technology like this existed and was so grateful that it came about.

The joy of her ‘magic ears’

The Cochlear Nucleus Systems gave Sophia access to all the sounds needed so she could hear and understand speech properly. Now, Sophia can count to 15, says so many words (I lost count of how many), is enrolled in gymnastics and is like any other 2 year old. She runs around and is so full of energy; you would never even notice she has hearing loss.

I am so grateful for these ‘magic ears.’ I had never known about cochlear implants and what I thought would be the worst words to hear – ‘she needs cochlear implant surgery,’ ended up being the best. I feared so much to go through it, and now I think back as to why we did not do it sooner!”

If you have a child with hearing loss and have some fears about cochlear implants, visit www.Cochlear.com/US/CochlearConnections to talk parents of children with cochlear implants and learn more from a family who went through the same process you are.

Cara Lippitt
Cara Lippitt is the Senior Manager, Social Media Strategy at Cochlear Americas. Cara is inspired by the stories of the recipients that she is able to tell and the incredible journeys they have taken. Cara was born and raised in Colorado and adores the mountains, snow and the world of musical theatre.