“Deciding to implant Kane was the best decision we ever made. Choosing Cochlear was the second best.” Learn how Kane, a child with ANSD, is now hearing with cochlear implants.

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“My heart sank slowly into the pit of my stomach as I stared blankly through the audiologist while she explained that our infant son had auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder (ANSD), and we needed to learn sign language. Every moment of our traumatic four-month NICU experience flashed before my eyes. I teared up, looked down at my son cuddled peacefully in my arms and thought to myself, ‘Why us?’

I looked at my husband as he sternly asked the audiologist, ‘How often are you wrong?’ She quickly responded, ‘Not very often.’ For our young family, this new circumstance paved an unfamiliar path. I was so sure once we escaped the NICU, we were free from the ever-changing circumstances. Little did I know, they had just begun.

Finding resolution

Kane, a child with ansd, with his parentsKane was born at 24 weeks gestation weighing 1 pound 12 ounces. Our warrior boy conquered five surgeries and 127 fighting days in the NICU. Right before Kane was to be discharged, the hospital performed a newborn hearing test, which he failed. He was then referred to a specialist. The same week we were starting our new normal at home with our oxygen-requiring son, we eagerly made an appointment to see an audiologist. This was when we discovered our new normal was going to change yet again.

Kane’s ANSD can be attributed to his prematurity. ANSD is a hearing disorder in which sound enters the inner ear normal, but the cochlea and/or auditory nerve are unable to transfer the sound to the brain. This is an emerging condition with still an immense amount of research being done. As parents, we were scared of the unknown. We buckled down and after mountains of research, we devised a plan.

We recognized we were a hearing family. No one in our family has had a history of hearing loss or used sign language. From this standpoint, we wanted Kane to experience the world we live in with us, which is a hearing world. Whether Kane’s hearing world would be through hearing aids or cochlear implants, we were ready to tackle this uncharted journey.

The push for implants

Kane, a child with ansd, with his dadKane trialed hearing aids immediately after his ANSD diagnosis for a year and showed limited progress. We knew cochlear implants were the next step. Anxious to give our son sound, we could not seem to get Kane cochlear implants fast enough. The world of hearing was awaiting, and we had so much to catch up on. A dog barking, the vacuum running, a song humming…these were just a few of the daily sounds we yearned for our son to hear.

After enduring the proper screening to qualify for cochlear implants, we were left with the burning question: which hearing implant would be best for Kane and our family? We spoke to current Cochlear families, read articles, and consulted our surgeon on the decision.

Cochlear was the best choice for our family because their customer service was phenomenal, the iPhone®12 capabilities were enticing and the successful reputation really got us. The Cochlear Nucleus® 7 Sound Processor is slim, sleek and easy to operate. It was the missing piece to Kane’s hearing journey. It would be the link to the dog bark, the vacuum and the song.

Kane received his first cochlear implant in 2018. He began to say words we felt would be a lifetime to hear as parents. Our hearts melted beyond belief when we heard the simple three-word phrase, ‘I love you,’ a phrase parents can take for granted and one some parents may never hear. Once we noticed significant progress with one implant, we opted for the second implant in 2019.

The best decision we’ve ever made

Kane, a child with ansd, with his sound processorDeciding to implant Kane was the best decision we have ever made as parents. Choosing Cochlear was the second best decision. Kane is 4 years old now. He is able to communicate with his peers, express his needs and sing all his favorite songs. His vocabulary has sky-rocketed since being implanted bilaterally.

One attributing factor to his language expansion is not only intense speech therapy, but also the features Cochlear offers. Kane loves his iPad®. He has speech tele-therapy and loves playing his learning games and watching his favorite YouTube cartoons. The Bluetooth® 3capabilities of the Nucleus 7 Sound Processor have saved us from hearing Elmo and Baby Shark over and over (and over) again. It has also helped him focus more exclusively on learning activities.

Furthermore, the True Wireless Mini Microphone helps us communicate with Kane more effectively. When Kane is on the playground with other children or in any environment with background noise, the Mini Microphone ensures Kane hears the targeted sound. Thus far, our experience with Cochlear has been exceptional in aiding Kane’s success and easing this newly paved journey for us.

Empowered to advocate for Kane

Kane, a child with ansd, sitting in a chairWhen we were first presented with our new life with ANSD, we felt lost, broken, and worried from the lack of professional care. Cochlear made us feel comfortable with our decision for implants and they continue to guide us through our journey today. We feel empowered to advocate for Kane with the help of Cochlear.

Kane is thriving with cochlear implants; he knows his ABCs, numbers, colors, shapes, animals, etc. Our future entails continued speech therapy, preschool and bridging the language gap for Kane once he reaches kindergarten. We are confident we can achieve these goals with Cochlear on our side.”

If you share a similar experience to Kane and his family and want to learn more about how Cochlear can help, start your journey here.

  1. For information on sound processor and app compatibility, visit www.cochlear.com/compatibility
  2. iPhone and iPad are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.
  3. The Bluetooth® word mark and logos are registered trademarks owned by Bluetooth SIG, Inc. and any use of such marks by Cochlear is under license.
Cara Lippitt
Cara Lippitt is the Public Relations and Marketing Manager at Cochlear Americas. She is responsible for consumer marketing social media and blog content. Cara is inspired by the stories of the recipients that she is able to tell and the incredible journeys they have taken. Cara was born and raised in Colorado and adores the mountains, snow and the world of musical theatre.