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What did you think when you first learned I was deaf?

Did you ever have any fears about my future when you learned I was deaf?

What do you think your future would have looked like if you didn’t have cochlear implants?

These are just some of the real questions and honest answers a mother, Carla M., father, Bruce M., and daughter, Abigail M. (13), sat down to ask each other in the “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 just like any other kid with the help of their cochlear implants.

Watch the trailer for Carla, Bruce and Abigail’s story, read more about their story below and watch their full “I Want You to Hear” series here on YouTube.

Carla shares more on their family’s story:

“When Abigail was first born, the first words out of my mouth were, ‘she’s perfect.’

About one year after she was born, I went back to work, she went to a day home. The day home mom would say to me, ‘I don’t know if she can hear me,’ frequently when I would pick her up. Then my husband and I started watching for signs. We thought, MAYBE she has a little hearing deficit. We went to many doctors locally and also ENTs that basically either said ‘it’s water,’ ‘it’s behaviour’ or ‘lots of kids don’t talk until later.’

We were frustrated, in denial and confused. When we finally got a referral to the Calgary Children’s Hospital and met with an audiologist, we had answers right away. Our hearts were saddened the day we were told Abigail was profoundly deaf. It was like a brick to the head, and heart.

Abigail trialed hearing aids for 6 months before she received her first cochlear implant just before she turned 3. She received her second cochlear implant before she was 6 years old. When Abigail was 4, we travelled to California and attended the John Tracey Clinic for three weeks. This was a life changer for myself and my husband.

The feelings of guilt, fear and uneasiness to this new ‘deaf world’ were subsided with the help of meeting so many other families from all over the world in the same situation as us. We treasure these lifelong friendships to this day and it made me realize how important it is to be there for newly diagnosed families in our area. To be able to talk with someone in the exact same situation, going through the same feelings, can help so much in this healing process.

Abigail is determined, proud and has overcome so many obstacles with a positive attitude. She works hard for her marks, and she has hopes of working towards a career in either audiology or education. She just received the Christian Leadership Award for her Grade 8 class. Her sense of humour and good spirit shines through with her peers. She has been an inspiration to her family, friends, and other classmates as well as her teachers.”

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.