When Luke was born with a form of congenital hearing loss, his parents realized that their whole world was about to change. They decided to get Luke cochlear implants to set him up for a lifetime of success and decided that their son’s hearing loss would be the reason he succeeds.
“Luke was born with mild to moderate hearing loss from the connexin 26 gene mutation in October of 2008. The infant hearing screening is what first caught his hearing issues and by December that same year he had his first set of hearing aids. He then progressed to being profoundly deaf first in his right ear, then his left.
Living in Arizona at the time, he received early services from the local school for deaf and blind. For us, those early services and support were critical in helping to get Luke to where he is today. We have been blessed to have Luke work with incredibly supportive teachers who have helped in every way possible: teaching us sign language, sharing resources, working on his speech and helping us make the decision on whether to implant him.
We decided to go ahead with getting Luke cochlear implants as we wanted to set him up for a lifetime of success. We did our research and ultimately chose Cochlear because of their outstanding reputation and upgradeable sound processor technology. Another huge factor in our decision was learning that Cochlear is the leader in many categories and has phenomenal customer service and support programs in place. Nine years later, the customer service is somehow getting better, which is really saying something.
Accessories to the rescue
Luke was implanted in Phoenix, AZ, starting with the right ear in 2011 and the left in 2012. We decided on getting Luke the Nucleus® 7 Sound Processor in black.
With the Nucleus 7 Sound Processor’s True Wireless™ capabilities, we bought him an iPhone®12, which is compatible with the Nucleus Smart App. It’s amazing how he can control his own volume in any environment, locate a lost processor and stream whatever is on his phone directly into his head. As parents, we are eternally grateful for the ‘find my ears’ (Find My Processor) feature. Luke’s favorite part is the ability to control and adjust his settings.
By now, living with a hearing implant is routine. There are things we need to be aware of, like always having his ear clips at the ready due to how active he is, dry packing his ‘ears’ every night, making sure he is wearing an ear clip and a knit hat when sledding or skiing, and taking his Aqua+3 everywhere we go (the kid is a water nut). We’ve also learned (the hard way) to not leave the sound processor where the dog can get it — so far, the dog has only won that battle once.
What hearing really means
The benefits of Luke’s ability to hear are hard to place into words. How do you describe the value of fishing along a shoreline with your son, talking about whether Superman or Batman would win in a fight, why wing suit flying isn’t a good life choice or what family means? The conversations over the last 10 years have been fun and engaging with Luke. Early on, he was a shy, reserved child, but with time, family, friends, coaches and teachers, Luke has found his voice and come out of that shell.
Early on, we resolved that Luke being deaf was never going to be allowed as an excuse or to have a victim mentality. Ever. The outlook we have instilled in Luke is that his hearing loss will be the reason he succeeds. Yes, he will often have to work harder. Yes, it is sometimes unfair he doesn’t get all the instruction the other kids/athletes receive. But that is life.
He has decided to overcome that by forcing his way to the front, advocating for himself, watching what happens and then executing. Not once has he used his deafness as an excuse of why he failed or could not achieve his results. Of course, he is upset from time to time about being deaf, but then remembers his lesson: some kids wear glasses, some sit in wheelchairs, some cannot run and some cannot hug their parents. Be grateful for the time in which we live, and that technology allows you to hear. He knows he has to work in order to stay pace with the other kids, but we’re proud that he has chosen to persevere, overcome and smile.
Powered by Cochlear
That competitive spirit serves him well as he is heavily engaged in athletics. If he can compete, it is the activity for him. His current loves are travel baseball, basketball and running. Before COVID hit, he was looking forward to winning the 1.5-mile school race for the 4th year in a row! And as for his future, Luke wants to go to college to be a software engineer (we suspect so he can make his own video games) or get paid to be a professional adrenaline junky. As parents, we prefer the former route, but it’s a hotly debated topic at the dinner table.
Our final thoughts are these: if you are considering Cochlear, do it. For us, our experience with Cochlear on this journey has been rewarding, and we are thankful we selected the right company to implant our son.”
Are you looking for information on cochlear implants for your child’s congenital hearing loss? Learn more here.
- For information on sound processor and app compatibility, visit www.cochlear.com/compatibility
- iPhone is a trademark of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.
- The Nucleus 7 Sound Processor with Aqua+ is water resistant to level IP68 of the International Standard IEC60529. This water protection rating means that the sound processor with the Aqua+ can be continuously submerged under water to a depth of 3 m (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.