Mary K. was shocked to see her daughter, Lily, born with unilateral microtia and atresia. After being in denial about her daughter’s hearing loss, Mary realized something was off with Lily emotionally and intellectually. Seeking out a plan to treat her hearing loss, Lily’s new doctor recommended the Cochlear™ Baha® System, opening up the sounds of Lily’s world at school and in life. See how her family and friends enjoyed a cel-EAR-bration for the new possibilities open to Lily:
“When Lily was born, her condition came as a shock. We had no warning and no awareness of how to handle it. The moment I first looked at her, my attention was brought to her deformed right ear. We were immediately referred to an ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor, who then diagnosed her with unilateral microtia and atresia and a moderate conductive hearing loss.
The doctor said she would be a candidate for something called a Baha, but not until she was older. We went through the testing and imaging, but we were still completely overwhelmed and unsure of what Lily’s future looked like. I found support in a group I found on Facebook, the Ear Community. I was able to ask questions, compare stories and feel a sense of family in that support group.
Looking back, as time passed, I feel like maybe we were all in denial about her hearing loss. Since she did not know any different, she functioned how we expected her to and did not seem to have issues in school settings.
Once she began second grade, things started shifting. There was something different about her emotionally and intellectually. We ended up seeing a new ENT, her current doctor to this day, and before we left that day, he had a plan. We were going to move forward with the Baha System to improve Lily’s life.
Our doctor suggested the Baha Connect System with the Baha 5 Sound Processor, and after discussing our options, it felt like the appropriate choice for her. We also planned to have some reconstruction done to her ear, and a problematic preauricular pit removed at the same time.
Being brave before surgery
Leading up to the surgery, Lily had moments of bravery that humbled everyone around her. Lily was eager to show all of her friends why she was excited about her upcoming surgery! She and I put together a presentation to explain her condition, exactly what the Baha System is and what it would do for her. By the end of her speech, the kids were giddy along with her!
The weekend before her procedure, we had something called a cel-EAR-bration, where we got together, went swimming, had pizza and candy and celebrated this huge change Lily was about to go through. She has kept a positive attitude through this entire process, which has been so inspiring to me and to so many others in her life.
The first day Lily’s Baha 5 Sound Processor was turned on, her voice changed. That moment was something we as parents had waited for, but it was so much bigger to our Lily. She started tapping her feet and her eyes started watering because she was so excited.
The most amazing moment was walking out of the audiologist’s office, and she stopped and said, ‘Mom! I can hear the wind blowing around me!’ As soon as she was able to return to school, she began absorbing every detail of her schooling. Her verbal communication boosted, words spoken more clearly and she started picking up things that had been lost in translation prior to having the Baha System. She began to evolve quickly and became substantially more confident. Within a short amount of time, she blossomed! She wore the Baha 5 on a Baha Softband while her abutment was healing and now wears her Baha 5 connected to the abutment!
The joy of listening to music
Lily’s favorite thing to do since getting the Baha 5 Sound Processor is streaming and listening to her favorite music from her iPhone®. She was always interested in music, but since getting her Baha System, she has a whole new appreciation for it!
She has taken responsibility for all of her new accessories too. She brings her Cochlear™ True Wireless™ Mini Microphone 2 to her teacher every morning and brings it to the library when necessary. She brings her iPhone (that is connected to her processor) to her class, and the teacher keeps it handy to raise or lower the volume, depending on what she needs.
She says her favorite part about having the Baha System is that she can finally hear the rain and her friends clearly. Her favorite activities include watching videos, playing with our parakeet and our younger daughter and roller-skating.
Lily’s Baha System has come in handy with each one of her hobbies, and she looks forward to wearing it every day! She has big dreams for herself; she wants to become a veterinarian. Until then, our plans are to participate in the Ear Community events and her school for the Deaf and Blind events as well, so Lily can connect with other kids who also have super hearing!”