“My family has a unique story. Our journey begins with our oldest child Jacob. He is smart, handsome and also happens to be born profoundly deaf. Jacob did not pass the hospital hearing screening so he was referred to a pediatric audiologist. It was at the audiologist visit that we discovered he was profoundly deaf. First we tried hearing aids, but they did not bring sound to his ears. We also started to learn sign language as a family to help him communicate since he could not hear. At one year old, Jacob was given the option to be implanted with a cochlear implant so he could hear. My husband and I did our research and knew we wanted to choose a Nucleus Cochlear Implant for our son.
Jacob had surgery at thirteen months old and was activated shortly after. Our family feels that along with a cochlear implant, there also needs to be a good team that includes an audiologist and speech therapist. Jacob is so successful at such a young age because of all the hard work put into making his Cochlear Implant utilized.
You may think that is where the journey ends, but there is more to the story! We decided to have another baby. We really did not think much about the second child having any kind of hearing loss. We did not do genetic testing to see what the odds were. Well, Reagan our daughter was also born profoundly deaf. As a mother, I do have to say that I was in shock when I found out the news in the hospital. I also knew that Jacob was doing great with his Cochlear Implants, and that we would choose the same path for Reagan as well. She also tried hearing aids first, but could not hear with them. I also taught her sign language since she could not hear. Reagan was also a cochlear implant candidate, so we had her surgery done at thirteen months old. Our family chose to use the same team (surgeon, audiologist and speech therapist) with Reagan as well. Jacob was just doing so well with his speech we would not have changed anything for Reagan. Reagan has only been activated for five months now. With a lot of hard work from her, the speech therapist, and me, she is already able to understand and say ling sounds. She can hear high frequency. She already turns her head to her name!
I love that we have two Cochlear children. I think that even though both children went through the same steps to get their Cochlear Implants, they are both so unique in expressing themselves. Jacob is older, has had his Nucleus Cochlear Implants longer, speaks really well but also likes to use sign language still at random times. Reagan is younger, has had her Nucleus Cochlear Implants for a shorter amount of time, really likes to use sign language and still needs encouragement to try to use sounds to express herself. I also have to put Reagan’s sound processors back on periodically. In fact, her brother told her the other day to stop taking her Cochlear’s off because he wanted to talk to her. At least he understands the importance of them!
I hope that our journey can help another family that is going through a similar situation. Whether it be the first time you are going through the Cochlear journey, or the second, it is important to reach out to specialists and other parents for support. Each child’s story is different and beautiful.”
~ Amber and Jeremy, parents to Nucleus Cochlear Implant recipients Jacob and Reagan