Back in 2002, when we learned that our son, Dylan, failed his newborn hearing screening, my husband and I were shocked and confused. We did not have hearing loss in our families’ histories, so my husband and I internally thought that it was “our fault” that this happened. The first audiologist that tested his hearing tried to explain how we might never know the etiology behind his deafness. We are thankful for her kindness and direction. However, that day was a blur to us and perhaps a typical day for her. She was professional, thoughtful and considerate. She had done her job very well, we just were in disbelief and transfixed. We left with papers and books about this subject but we were still numb from her words.
We decided to seek a second opinion about our new baby boy and drove from Florida to New York to see another audiologist. This professional was so experienced; he talked to us about hearing aids and choices in communication. Then, he simply looked at our older child, Megan and asked, “What about her hearing loss?” At that moment, I felt that all of the audiologists in the world were conspiring against our family! I even thought that perhaps, it might be a profession filled with “quacks.” I politely muttered back to him, “She’s fine. We are not here for her. She is just my strong-willed, naughty child who doesn’t listen.” When these words came out of my mouth, it almost made me hit the floor. I was shocked.
As it turns out, this particular “quack” was a genius. On that day, a horrible, perfect and wonderful miracle happened. We learned that our 17-month-older daughter also had a severe hearing loss in both ears. The Earth stopped rotating on its axis and this kick in the stomach was much harder to face.
As we fast-forward to 2017, we have two children who have had bilateral hearing aids and now have bilateral Cochlear™ Nucleus® implants. I marvel at those amazing audiologists and the incredible cochlear implant technology. Our children are fully mainstreamed, enjoying regular high school activities and achieving success on their school’s Honor Roll. Our family has come a long way from that first appointment. Our adventure continues with updated advice, new technology and endless possibilities for our teens’ futures.
Choosing Cochlear was the easiest and best decision we have ever made. Each child has upgraded to new technology, having had five sound processors in 13 years, all with updated features that provide better access to speech, sounds and music. Our children’s’ ability to achieve their goals speaks to Cochlear’s endless innovation and lifetime commitment. The company is made of individuals always considering how to make the experience better for every recipient. Being a part of the Cochlear Family has enabled us to learn from others and share hopes, ideas, dreams and accomplishments. This kindred community is helpful, encouraging and has been the greatest blessing throughout this journey.
Since 2002, we have discovered life with children who have cochlear implants, but there is always more to learn. The dedication, experience and concern shown by these professionals underlies their daily activities, advice and encouragement. I believe that each audiologist has the patient’s very best interest at heart. Without them, it would be a very dreary and quiet world. Oh how we appreciate those who guide us to triumph!