When the news that her newborn son had severe to profound hearing loss caused by a virus called congenital CMV, she was devastated. Months later, with determination and the support and expertise of Cochlear, Mason’s mom can safely say that she wishes she knew then what she knows now — because if so, the panic she first felt wouldn’t have even entered her mind.

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“My husband and I decided it was time to add one more baby to complete our family shortly after our daughter turned 2. When we found out our next and last baby was actually a plural, babies, we were completely shocked! Once the initial disbelief wore off, we were so excited to welcome our little miracles. I had a relatively healthy and uneventful pregnancy, and we welcomed Millie and Mason in early 2020! Everything went perfectly and they were doing great, and when Mason failed both of his newborn hearing screenings, we were assured it was due to fluid in his middle ear from the C-section. This is apparently common, so we weren’t too worried.

After a couple of months of waiting for an audiologist appointment, we were surprised to find out he failed the test again. Surely it was still just fluid, right? At our follow-up auditory brainstem response (ABR) test a few weeks later, I could tell something wasn’t right. The audiologist kept running the same tests over and over. It was then that my worst fears were confirmed: he did indeed have hearing loss, and it was in both ears1. My world stopped and all I could do was sob. Devastated doesn’t even begin to describe the feeling. I was mourning this great life I had planned for my son. All my hopes and dreams for him to be successful felt like they were ruined. I had no clue about hearing loss and had never even met a deaf person. It was a whole new world for us — one that we weren’t expecting an invitation to.

When apprehension turns into action

Brooke's son who has hearing loss caused by a virus and his sisterMy way of coping with obstacles is to stay busy, so naturally, I researched everything hearing loss related. One thing that immediately caught my attention while researching was cochlear implants. I had no idea there was even a way or device that could help deaf people hear. I was so intrigued by this amazing device and instantly knew it was what we wanted for our son.

I wanted Mason to hear things like waves crashing on the shore, crickets chirping at dusk and the giggles of his sisters; but most of all, I wanted him to hear my voice telling him how much I love him. From my research, I learned so much it was overwhelming, but the more I dug, the better I felt. I learned that Mason was not alone in this, and neither was I.

Hearing loss caused by a virus

After a series of tests to find out the cause of Mason’s hearing loss, it was determined that it was caused by congenital CMV, a common cold-like virus that pregnant women can contract, which in turn can infect the fetus. Though it’s virtually harmless to adults, it can cause some serious issues in unborn babies. Luckily, Mason’s only symptom was deafness, and even luckier, Millie was unaffected. We were so thankful to finally have answers.

During this time, we also did more hearing tests and a hearing aid trial which continued to confirm what we already knew. Mason was profoundly deaf, and hearing aids weren’t going to be able to give him enough access to sound. That’s when we began to get serious about cochlear implants and met with our amazing surgeon. We picked a surgery date and after weeks of waiting to see if our insurance accepted the procedure, we finally got the go-ahead. All the emotions came flooding in; fear, excitement, joy, doubt, and anxiety filled me. It was getting REAL now.

Why we chose Cochlear

Brooke's son, who has hearing loss caused by a virusWe proceeded to meet with our audiologist to work out the details and pick a brand of implants. All of the companies seemed great, but there was one that stuck out to me: Cochlear. All of their users were so pleased with the equipment, customer service, sleek design and up-to-date technology. Some of the deciding factors for us were how user-friendly the cochlear implants are. We have the ability to control the device from an app2 on our phones with their True Wireless™ technology, they are MRI-compatible, there’s a waterproof3 case for our active lifestyle and there is even a ‘Find My Processor’ feature.

When surgery day finally arrived, we sent our baby off to the operating room where he easily won over the hearts of all the nurses. After hours of waiting, he was finally done and back in our arms. Everything went perfectly! He recovered so quickly and was back to his normal, happy self in about a day. While that step was over, we now had some time to wait for his activation.

The momentous activation day

Finally, that momentous day came. Mason was, of course, overwhelmed with hearing clearly for the first time in his life, but despite that, he did amazing. It’s been about a month now, and he’s reacting so well to sound, vocalizing more every day, and improving in therapy. I am beyond happy we made the decision to get Mason cochlear implants. I hope he too will appreciate the gift the implants have given him.

Looking back at how I felt the day we found out Mason was deaf I wish I knew what I know now. All those dreams I had for him may look a little different now, but he has the power to accomplish anything he puts his mind to! The challenges he may face will only make him stronger and more determined. Thank you Cochlear for giving my baby the gift of SOUND.”

Does your child have hearing loss caused by a virus or other causes? Click here for information.

  1. In the US, the cochlear implant system is intended for use in children 9 to 24 months of age who have bilateral profound sensorineural deafness and demonstrate limited benefit from appropriate binaural hearing aids. Children two years of age or older may demonstrate severe to profound hearing loss bilaterally.
  2. For a full list of smartphone and app compatible devices, visit: www.cochlear.com/compatibility.
  3. 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.
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.