On this Mother’s Day, we are excited to highlight the story of 21-month-old Olivia H. as told by her mom, Jessica. 

IMG_6795

Olivia is the youngest of four children and is the only member of her family to be born with hearing loss. Jessica wanted her daughter to be able to engage and communicate with the whole family verbally.

Jessica shares her story about why she decided cochlear implants were the best option for her child and why she chose Cochlear to be their partner through their journey:

“When our daughter Olivia was two months old, she was diagnosed with sensorineural hearing loss. The audiologist confirmed that Olivia had moderate/severe hearing loss on her right and severe/profound on her left. My husband and I were devastated. We clung to one another, crying, praying for God’s intervention.

Within two months, Olivia was fitted for hearing aids. At first, they seemed to make a difference. She immediately began to respond to sounds she hadn’t previously. But after some time, we noticed she was less engaged and less responsive, and she rarely ever kept them in.

We were discouraged and saddened, unable to meet the needs of our child’s speech and cognitive development. When she was 11 months old, after another auditory brainstem response (ABR) test, it was concluded that her hearing had gotten progressively worse. At this point, we began discussing the option of cochlear implants.

IMG_6952Olivia is our fourth child. We decided cochlear implants were the best option for our family because all Olivia’s older siblings have normal hearing, and as a family, we wanted her to be able to engage and communicate with us verbally.

We met with the audiologist who provided us with ample amounts of information on various cochlear implant manufacturers. After prayerful and thoughtful consideration, we selected Cochlear for Olivia. We decided Cochlear was the best fit based on the positive reviews and reports, the unlimited accessibility to resources, and the additional accessories currently available.

Olivia has now undergone two successful cochlear implant surgeries and has a cochlear implant in each ear. She was activated in her first ear at 14 months, and the activation of her second ear was at 17 months.

Each activation day has been truly a miracle. Olivia has been a pretty joyful child with a big, bright smile, but the day she could hear, her smile stretched across her face like never before.

In the weeks following her first activation, she tuned in to all sorts of sounds and began to babble like we had never heard. We hadn’t realized how little she babbled until this point. She quickly became more social, engaged and blossomed in a matter of weeks. We were so encouraged when she stopped taking off her processors within days. Now she requests to put them on whenever she wakes up or they accidently fall off.

We love how she points to her ears to indicate she can hear things. I recall the joy and excitement the first time she pointed to her ear when she heard the rain and the sounds of birds singing!

The progress she has made in the past three months has been astounding. She has this amazing ability to process language quickly. She understands as many words and phrases of a child with normal hearing her age. She roughly has the same amount of vocabulary as well.

My hope and prayer is that Olivia will lead a normal life like any other child, and she’ll be confident in herself.

My husband and I have no doubt that we made the best decision for our child. The ability to hear is an amazing gift that sometimes I think we can take for granted. Thank you, Cochlear, for giving our daughter the gift of hearing!”

Visit IWantYouToHear.com to learn more about the available resources for parents of a child with hearing loss.

Renee Oehlerking
Renee Oehlerking is the Public Relations Manager at Cochlear Americas where she is responsible for the region’s public relations and consumer marketing social media. Renee enjoys uncovering, telling and showcasing the inspiring stories of hearing implant recipients. As a recent transplant to Denver, Colorado, Renee enjoys exploring all that the state has to offer outdoors.