Genetic testing revealed that Hayden had a unique gene mutation called Connexin 26, or GJB2, resulting in bilateral profound hearing loss. At the recommendation of their audiologist, Hayden’s family decided for him to receive bilateral cochlear implants. He is now building significant experience in both listening and spoken language and gets to enjoy all his favorite water activities! Read Hayden’s story below:


“We learned of Hayden’s hearing loss the summer of 2020. He had always been a calm, happy baby, but we suspected something was wrong when he didn’t react to fireworks going off in our neighborhood on the Fourth of July.

He had passed his newborn hearing screen at the hospital and there is no family history of hearing loss, so we weren’t sure what was going on. After a sedated auditory brainstem response test (ABR) we were given the diagnosis of bilateral profound hearing loss. We were shocked and devastated by the news, however we did not hesitate when asked if we wanted to pursue the route of cochlear implants for our sweet boy. We discovered after genetic testing that Hayden tested positive for the GJB2 gene mutation, also known as Connexin 26, the most common cause for recessive sensorineural hearing loss.

Hayden, a young boy with cochlear implants, wearing a helmet and riding his bike on a neighborhood sidewalk. Putting our trust in the professionals

We chose Cochlear as our brand for Hayden after speaking with Hayden’s audiologist who informed us of the amazing technology, success rate and accessory options. Cochlear is also the preferred brand used by Hayden’s surgeon who we undoubtedly trusted.

Hayden had his right cochlear implant surgery shortly before his first birthday1 and the left side followed two months later as he was doing so well. Activation day will be a day we will never forget, Hayden gave his audiologist a big smile upon hearing the beeps for the first time.

Having a child with bilateral cochlear implants was quite an adjustment to our family at first as we have two older hearing children, but we have all adapted very well and our now 9- and 6-year-old even know how to put the processors together in the morning and put their brother’s ‘ears’ on.

Hayden wears Hugfits daily for retention and is now able put the magnet back on himself if it gets knocked off while playing. He attends speech therapy weekly and is thriving with his listening and spoken language skills. Hayden’s ability to have access to sound with the cochlear implants has been very beneficial. He’s able to communicate via spoken language and his vocabulary is improving, closing the gap on the first year he was not able to hear.

Hayden loves being outside and being able to hear the sounds of motorcycles, helicopters and airplanes; he can spot them from anywhere! Recently Hayden attended a listening and spoken language camp twice a week with 7 other children around his age who also have cochlear implants and he loved interacting with others who have ‘ears like me.’

Hayden, a young boy with cochlear implants laying on his stomach in a shallow pool with his Aqua+ water accessory on the side of his head. Taking advantage of the benefits of cochlear implant technology

Hayden has bilateral Cochlear Nucleus® 7 Sound Processors and we use the made for iPhone®2 capabilities along with the Mini Microphone 2+, TV streamer and the Aqua+ kit.

Hayden has become a little fish this summer and thanks to the Aqua+ kit he is able to hear the sound of his siblings and friends swimming around him, as well as himself splashing in the pool! Knowing that his processors are protected3 from the water and he’s still able to hear and communicate, gives us peace of mind. We are grateful for such an amazing accessory that he will use more and more as he gets older.

Some of Hayden’s favorite activities include playing any and all outdoor sports with his older brother and sister, zipping around on his scooter and riding his bicycle. At 4-years-old he can ride a bicycle with no training wheels! His cochlear implants play a huge role in the success of him being able to participate in these types of activities and being able to hear his siblings, family and friends and communicate verbally with them while doing these physical activities has been such a joy to witness.

Hayden will be heading to 4-year-old preschool this fall and we are very eager and hopeful this will take his listening and spoken language to a whole new level. He has come so far on his cochlear implant journey and we are so proud of the progress he has made.

Future goals are for him to attend mainstream kindergarten and to be a role model for other children with hearing loss and cochlear implants. We are truly blessed and extremely grateful for the amazing technology of cochlear implants as they have changed all our lives forever.”

If your child is experiencing hearing loss, cochlear implants may help them dive into sound and with the Aqua+, enjoy hearing during water activities. Learn more about your options today!

  1. In the US, the cochlear implant system is intended for use in children 9 to 24 months of age who have bilateral profound sensorineural deafness and demonstrate limited benefit from appropriate binaural hearing aids. Children two years of age or older may demonstrate severe to profound hearing loss bilaterally.

    In Canada, the Cochlear Nucleus Implant System (CI500 and CI600 Series) is approved for use in children 9 to 24 months of age who have profound sensorineural hearing loss in both ears and demonstrate limited benefit from appropriate hearing aids. Children 2 years of age or older may demonstrate severe to profound hearing loss in both ears.

  2. For a full list of smartphone and app compatible devices, visit:
  3. The Nucleus 7 Sound Processor with Aqua+ is water resistant to level IP68 of the International Standard IEC60529. This water protection means that the sound processor with the Aqua+ can be continuously submerged under water to a depth of 3 meters (9 ft and 9 in) for up to 2 hours. This water protection only applies when you use a Cochlear Standard Rechargeable Battery Module or Cochlear Compact Rechargeable Battery Module. The Nucleus 7 Sound Processor is water- resistant without the Nucleus Aqua+ accessory to level of IP57 of the International Standard IEC60529 when used with rechargeable batteries.
  4. Apple, Made for iPhone logo, iPhone are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.
Jesse Griego
Jesse Griego is the Social Media Specialist at Cochlear Americas. Jesse finds inspiration daily in the resiliency of our recipients and their hearing journeys. Jesse was born and raised in Colorado and in his free time enjoys being a wrestling and lacrosse coach, playing guitar and being with his hound dog.