Shanta R.’s son, Michael R. Jr., continually failed his hearing screenings in his right ear. After doctors were unsure if there was fluid in his ear needing to drain, they were finally able to diagnose Michael with a conductive hearing loss. Receiving the Cochlear™ Baha® 5 Sound Processor on a Softband, Michael is working hard to hear to his best abilities:

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“My son’s name is Michael R. Jr. We call him M.J for short. M.J was born April 25, 2018. He had his first newborn hearing test done when he was only 2 days old. He failed the first hearing test for his right ear, but passed the hearing test for his left ear. They did another hearing test on day three just to make sure. Again, M.J failed in his right ear, the doctor thought he had amniotic fluid in his ear, so we were set up to do a follow-up hearing test two weeks later.

Two weeks later, we went in to do his hearing test and yet again, he failed in his right ear. At this point, my husband and I were feeling frustrated and lost because we had never been through this with our previous three girls. After failing the test at two weeks, M.J was then referred to a pediatric audiologist for an auditory brainstem response (ABR) test.

At 1 month old he had an ABR hearing test done at our local children’s hospital. Once again, he failed in his right ear. At this appointment, we were given a diagnosis that he had a conductive hearing loss. However, the audiologist assumed he still had fluid in his ear. So, she referred us to a children’s ear, nose and throat doctor (ENT).

Figuring out M.J’s hearing loss

Child with conductive hearing loss with Baha 5 Sound ProcessorAt three months old, M.J was seen by the ENT for his conductive hearing loss. She checked his ears and while doing so, told my husband and me that she could not see anything in his ear because again, she thought fluid was built up in his ear. She could not see his eardrum, but she mentioned that the ear canal also looked different. Because she still thought it was fluid, we were sent home and told to come back in four weeks to check to see if the fluid moved or drained.

At 4 months old, the ENT saw M.J again. At this particular visit, she once again checked the ears and said the same thing that she said on the last visit. She then proceeded to tell us that his right ear looked completely different from his left ear. So once again we were sent home to wait for the fluid to drain, but were given a date for M.J to get ear tubes.

The ENT wanted to do a sedated ABR and put in an ear tube to try to drain fluid from his right ear. On M.J’s 6-month birthday, he went in for the sedated ABR and received ear tubes. After the procedure, my husband and I were sat down with the previous audiologist and ENT in which she gave us the results and findings.

Diagnosis of a conductive hearing loss

Our world changed this day. Finally, our son was diagnosed with unilateral conductive hearing loss. The ENT found that he was born without an eardrum. During this meeting, the audiologist talked to us about the Baha 5 Sound Processor and how it will help his type of hearing loss.

About one week later, M.J went in for another hearing test and we decided to get him the Baha 5 Sound Processor on a Softband; everything was ordered at that visit. While we waited for his Baha 5 Sound Processor and Softband to come in, our audiologist gave us a loaner Baha 5 Sound Processor. Immediately after putting it on him, we noticed that he would respond to sounds in his right ear, something he rarely did prior to this.

M.J is now 10 months old. His ENT wants to do a CT scan within the next couple of months to check the anatomy behind the space of the missing eardrum to see what it looks like behind there. He is not a candidate for traditional hearing aids because of his ear canal anatomy. The doctors have given us the option to get the Baha Bone Conduction Implant System1 when he is 5 years old. Our plan is to let him decide.

Living life with the Baha 5 Sound Processor

Child with conductive hearing loss with Baha 5 Sound ProcessorRight now, he is diagnosed with a communication delay because he is not making noises or words most children his age do; however, he does currently see a speech therapist. Our journey is just beginning.

I am so satisfied with the Baha 5 Sound Processor because it has given us hope that our child will still be able to hear like his peers, even with a hearing loss. I also love the Baha 5 Sound Processor because it pairs with my smartphone2 and I can adjust the volume, as well as check to make sure the battery level is adequate and working properly. We also love the Baha 5 Sound Processor because we can change headbands!! We are so blessed to be part of the Cochlear family; thank you so very much.”

Was your child diagnosed with a conductive hearing loss? Learn about the Baha 5 Sound Processor on a Softband as a treatment option to help them gain access to sound.

  1. In the United States and Canada, the Baha Implant is indicated for children ages 5 and older.
  2. Cochlear Baha 5 sound processors are compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. For compatibility information visit www.cochlear.com/compatibility
Cara Lippitt
Cara Lippitt is the Public Relations Associate 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.