This is Logan. He’s my happy little guy who loves balloons, pestering his big sister and any type of truck. Oh, and he’s also profoundly deaf. Before Logan was born my husband Charlie and I had never even been around a deaf person. Of all the things new parents fret over, having a deaf child was never something we worried about. Thanks to our team at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and other parents who had been in our shoes, we knew quickly what we wanted for Logan: bilateral Nucleus® Cochlear Implants.
He was activated on November 10, 2014 at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Let me tell you- his activation made me hate all of those “YouTube worthy” videos! He cried, and cried, and cried some more. However, slowly but surely, the tears for something completely unfamiliar turned to curiosity and wide-eyed amazement.
The next day, Logan turned to his name. Every. Single. Time. This was a kid who slept through a fire alarm. As each day went by, he mimicked more and more sounds. A month later, we had his first word – “Dog”. And now, at age 20 months (hearing age of 10 months) he has age-appropriate language. Logan amazes me every day.
This past April, I was able to take Logan to visit my grandfather, Papa, for his 100th birthday celebration. My grandfather had been hard of hearing for as long as I could remember. Even with hearing aids, we still had to shout, look at him so he could read our lips and speak slowly. He was unable to talk on the phone without the use of CapTel- something he struggled with as all of his family was long distance. My grandfather mentioned to me that his doctor had suggested a cochlear implant. At 100 years old.
I have to admit, I was skeptical at first. The risk of anesthesia for someone Papa’s age is not insignificant. I talked at length with my grandfather, his doctor and our family about the risks and challenges he might face. But Papa, being the extraordinary guy that he is, said that he had lived this long and wanted to hear better. To be able to hear his bridge partner. To have a conversation in his dining room without reading lips. To talk on the phone with more ease.
On July 15, 2015, Papa received his cochlear implant – less than a year after his one year old great grandson. I was able to fly out for his activation to help him set up his equipment. My biggest fear was that the technology would be too complicated and difficult to manipulate, but I was once again proved wrong. Papa put the battery on the charger easily. He was able to take apart and put together his processor. With written instructions, he is able to use the Mini Mic (a wireless accessory and his favorite bridge playing tool). We are working on the Phone Clip and hope he will use it when he is completely “tuned up”. His audiogram went from in the 60’s at best with his hearing aids, to in the low 30’s and high 20’s with only his cochlear implant. He will tell you this was not without challenges. But he will also tell you that he wouldn’t change a thing – and he learns more every day.
A year ago, cochlear implants were not a part of my life, my son’s life, or my grandfather’s life. But now they have completely changed each of our lives for the better. The people we have met and befriended along the way are now my closest friends. My son will go on to live his life facing far fewer challenges than my grandfather did for all of those years. And my Papa, well, he just proves that it’s never too late to change your life – and your hearing – for the better.
~Sarah, Mother and Granddaughter of Nucleus Cochlear Implant Recipient