Kristen S. looks back on her son’s life with Cochlear™ Implants. After Kevin failed his newborn hearing screening, Kristen, eager to give him access to sound, got him bilateral Cochlear Implants. Now, Kevin is on his swim team, is an avid skier and does many school and after-school activities. See why Kristen is excited for his limitless future:
“My son, Kevin, is 12 years old and has bilateral Cochlear Implants and started with the Cochlear Nucleus® Freedom® Sound Processors. He was born in California before they adopted universal newborn hearing screening, but we were fortunate that the hospital where he was born had implemented the screening test 2 weeks prior to his arrival.
Hearing journey beginnings
There was some confusion with his hearing failing coupled with an early misdiagnosis; therefore, he was not confirmed deaf until six months of age. By that time, we had suspected that something was ‘off’ with his hearing and already researched cochlear implants. Multiple months after his diagnosis, he was bilaterally implanted and was activated one month later. His hearing journey began then!
We chose Cochlear because, at the time, they had the smallest baby worn device on the market. My mom sewed little pockets in to each of Kevin’s shirts and the battery packs fit snugly in them. Eventually, after his ears grew larger, he was able to wear the Nucleus Freedom Sound Processors behind his ears. Five years later, we upgraded to the Cochlear Nucleus 5 Sound Processors and were blown away with the size difference compared to his old ones. Just this year, our son upgraded to the Cochlear™ Nucleus® 7 Sound Processors and once again, we are amazed at not only the size difference, but also the added technology.
An active life
Kevin is an active 12-year-old seventh grader. He is an excellent student and loves to read! His hearing loss definitely does not hold him back. Due to the incredible gift of Cochlear Implants, he has been able to participate in every activity as his hearing peers.
He has played many sports over the years, but is currently playing volleyball and swimming on a swim team. The Aqua+* kit allows him to hear the coaches during practice, chat with friends during swim meets and start on time with the buzzer during swim races. We live in a very hot area, so the Aqua+ kit is used daily during the summer with the constant pool use.
One of Kevin’s favorite winter activities is to snow ski. I love being able to talk to him on the chairlift through his helmet and be able to tell him which route to go as he is zooming ahead of me!
We discovered an added bonus about his Nucleus 7 Sound Processors this year. Because the Nucleus 7 Sound Processor is smaller and sits a bit differently on his ear, this was the first year we were able to put a ski helmet on his head on the first try without a headband and without knocking off the processors. It was amazing how easy the helmet just slipped on his head! He also loves to play in the snow after a day of skiing. Knowing that the processors already have a good water resistant rating on their own brings us comfort that they can handle a day in the snow followed by a massive snowball fight!
Kevin also is active in Boy Scouts and has taken numerous camping trips. He switches to the disposable batteries when he is camping. He also participates in Destination Imagination and his team came in first place at the State Tournament, which qualified him for the Global Final competition in Knoxville, Tennessee. Kevin also plays the alto saxophone for his school band. He does not miss a beat due to his Sound Processors.
Favorite features of the Nucleus 7 Sound Processor
Kevin’s favorite feature about the Nucleus 7 Sound Processor is the Bluetooth® connectivity to his iPhone®. He loves the fact that he can answer his phone directly to his implant or listen to videos with direct audio streaming. His friends think he has the coolest ‘gadget’ around!
We are so thankful for Cochlear and the technology of Kevin’s implants. It is exciting to think about the possibilities for what the future holds. There have been so many changes in the past 12 years and I cannot imagine what the next 12 will bring! I do know that due to Cochlear Implants, Kevin’s hearing loss will never hold him back!!!”