After Silas failed his newborn hearing screening, his parents learned that he was born with significant hearing loss. Silas’ parents immediately began searching for solutions that would allow him to live a life full of sound. Learn about their journey and how they ended up choosing the Cochlear™ Nucleus® System:
“Silas wasn’t even 24 hours old when he failed his newborn hearing screening. I don’t think I really considered the possibility that my son could have hearing loss. We chalked it up to a fluke, user error or fluid in his tiny newborn ears. They ran the test a second time while we were still there, coming up with the same result. We left the hospital with a referral for further testing, never in a million years imagining the journey we had ahead of us.
Visit to see an audiologist and Connexin 26 diagnosis
Two months later, we went into an audiology office for an auditory brainstem response test (ABR), and it was confirmed that there was severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss in both ears. There was also fluid, so I held onto the possibility that it was conductive, and that the audiologist was wrong—it would get better.
Those first few months were filled with so much worry, heartache and fear while also being in complete denial. I blamed myself. I was jealous of all the new moms around me experiencing their new baby without something like this looming over them. We got a second opinion and then had a repeat ABR at four months, all confirming what we already knew but hadn’t accepted. Silas was deaf and our whole world seemed to have flipped upside down.
The next few months were a whirlwind. There was a lot of testing, researching and tears. Eventually, he was fitted for hearing aids for a trial period to see if his access to sound would improve. Not long after we elected to receive genetic testing to find out the cause of his hearing loss. It turned out to be Connexin 26.
Trying hearing aids
We eventually received his hearing aids but had learned over time that with his degree of hearing loss, the statistics were against us as far as him having access to speech sounds. We did see a small change in behavior and a few extra baby babbles than we were used to, but after a few months of wearing the aids, it just wasn’t enough. If we wanted Silas to develop spoken language, we would have to explore other options.
The cochlear implant, something we had come across in all our research but never thought we’d need to strongly consider, was staring us dead in the eyes. We didn’t know if it was something we were going to follow through with, after all we had already started learning sign language. We didn’t know if he would be a candidate and the thought of a surgery on our young child was not ideal. We spent hours talking to parents of children with cochlear implants and older cochlear implant users. We also conducted hours of research on the procedure and doctors as well as exploring our options in case we chose to take a different direction. Eventually, we decided that we were going to move forward with the testing to see if he was a candidate, and it was so great to learn that he was!
Choosing Cochlear and experiencing the hope of hearing
We chose to move forward with Cochlear because of their leading technology and the fact that they are highly recommended for children. Our doctor and audiologist seemed to be most familiar with the Cochlear brand, which also made us extra comfortable with the surgery and the customer service reviews were like no other.
Silas was implanted around 16 months old and activated about three weeks later. Activation day was the most amazing experience. Silas wasn’t overwhelmed or bothered by the new world he was experiencing. It looked like he was just taking it all in. Our audiologist said, ‘he’s as cool as a cucumber.’
Silas’ hearing growth
Over the past two and a half years, we’ve been able to see Silas thrive and absolutely fall in love with sound. We’ve watched him learn to recognize and localize relevant sound. We’ve watched him stop in his tracks to point out a dog barking across the street and even an airplane flying in the sky. He loves music and playing the piano and his drums; two things I never imagined would be possible.
Most days, his ‘ears’ are the first thing he asks for in the morning and the last thing he wants off before bed. The kid even wears his Aqua+ Kit12 in the bathtub (our favorite accessory by the way)! This little boy is a fish, and we’re so happy he has access to sound at the pool and lake! His vocabulary is growing daily, and sometimes I’m not even sure how he learned some of the things that he says. Hearing our boy sing songs and talk to his toys, say ‘I love you’ and tell us about the things he is discovering makes it all worth it.
Silas has been most comfortable with the Kanso® Sound Processors but just recently begun to tolerate the Nucleus 7 Sound Processor for longer periods of time! Since September 2020, Silas has been virtually attending our local oral preschool for the deaf, but we are so happy that starting in August 2021, he will be attending in person! We’ve seen some amazing growth these past 2 years and we are so thankful for this technology and the gift of sound. We know we made the right decision for our family.”
Was your child born with significant hearing loss like Silas? Learn more about how cochlear implants could give them access to sound.
- The Nucleus 7 Sound Processor with Aqua+ is water resistant to level IP68 of the International Standard IEC60529. This water protection means that the sound processor with the Aqua+ can be continuously submerged under water to a depth of 3 meters (9 ft and 9 in) for up to 2 hours. This water protection only applies when you use a Cochlear Standard Rechargeable Battery Module or Cochlear Compact Rechargeable Battery Module. The Nucleus 7 Sound Processor is water-resistant to level IP57 of the International Standard IEC60529 without the Aqua+ accessory for the Nucleus 7 Sound Processor. The Nucleus Aqua+ for Kanso is IP68 rated and approved for use with alkaline and nickel metal hydride batteries. The Nucleus Kanso Sound Processor is water-resistant without the Nucleus Aqua+ for Kanso accessory to level IP54 of the International Standard IEC60529
- The Kanso Sound Processor is water resistant to level IP54 of the International Standard IEC60529. The Kanso Sound Processor with the Aqua+ is water resistant to level IP68 of the International Standard when used with LR44 alkaline or nickel metal hydride disposable batteries.