What was your initial reaction when you found out that your child was deaf? What made you decide to go forward with a cochlear implant for your child? How is your child thriving with cochlear implants today?

These are just some of the real questions and honest answers two mothers, Sarah M. and Angel V., sat down to ask each other in their “I Want You to Hear” video series.

The “I Want You to Hear” video series explores the emotional journey for parents and children of what it’s like to find out your child is born deaf, navigating the new world of hearing loss, deciding on cochlear implants and how kids who are deaf can succeed like any other kid with the help of their cochlear implants.

Watch Part 1 of Sarah and Angel’s “I Want You to Hear” series:

Read more about Sarah and Angel’s individual stories below, and watch their full series here on YouTube.

Sarah and her daughter, Shalini

I Want You to Hear - parent of a child with cochlear implants“My daughter, Shalini, started losing her hearing at 4 years old. She had ear surgery, and after that we discovered extensive nerve damage to her left ear. We did hearing testing and discovered she had a progressive hearing loss.

We tried hearing aids for her and when they didn’t work, I was told she needed a cochlear implant.

Shalini had her right side Cochlear Implant surgery September 2014 and was activated in October, one day after her 5th birthday.

Wow, what a huge difference her Cochlear Implant made. So much that we got Shalini her second Cochlear Implant the next year.

I raised Shalini as a single parent. During the process of finding out about her hearing loss, trialing hearing aids, deciding on Cochlear Implants, surgery, speech therapy, dealing with the insurance company, fighting for her benefits, I did it all on my own and still do it all today.

I look back, and I am not sure how I did it but I did. I will continue to be my child’s best advocate. To me this is all part of being a mom, and I would not change a thing about my daughter or my situation.”

Angel and her daughter, MaKayla

I Want You to Hear - parent of a child with cochlear implants“MaKayla was almost 5 years old when she went completely deaf. It was at this time that she became a candidate for cochlear implants. In June 2010, she received her first Cochlear Implant. Then in July, she received the best gift ever, her Cochlear Implant was activated and her journey into a new hearing world took off.

That evening MaKayla heard crickets chirping for the first time!

A year later, MaKayla received her second Cochlear Implant, and after that activation, every day was a new hearing experience.

She could now hear cars, birds, cats meowing, the clock ticking and the sound of rain on the window; all of the sounds I had once taken for granted. Most importantly, she could hear our family say, ‘I love you!’

MaKayla’s journey to better hearing has not been without its ups and downs, but it has been worth it.

MaKayla is now a very determined 11 year old. She is a standout student and represents her class in her school’s leadership committee. MaKayla loves basketball and averages 10 points per game, 11 plus rebounds and 10 steals per game.

MaKayla and I spend many evenings talking about her day and her dreams for the future. MaKayla’s sister, Nariah, also enjoys conversations with her sister. MaKayla wears her Cochlear Implant sound processors with pride, and she has made them into a fashion statement. None of this would have been possible without Cochlear’s gift of better hearing!”

If you’re a parent of a child with hearing loss looking for treatment options to help your child to speak and communicate too, visit IWantYouToHear.com.

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.