In January 2007, at a routine audiology checkup, we found out that Hannah’s hearing had gotten much worse. She was in the severe to profound range across the audiogram. This new information was hard to hear, but it made complete sense to me. Hannah’s articulation had been becoming muddy for a couple of months, and I was worried that I wasn’t doing enough language therapy with her. We immediately made an appointment with Dr. Todd and scheduled a follow-up hearing test to make sure the results were valid. Dr. Todd agreed with us that she was not hearing well enough with her hearing aids to hear all of the speech sounds. His opinion was that she would be very successful with the cochlear implant.
Just the year before, Belle had received her implant, so the process was fresh in our minds. We began making the necessary appointments and preparations. Her surgery was scheduled for March 27th, 2007.
She completely understood what was going on because she knew Belle went to the hospital to have implant surgery and get her “processor”. She was so excited to be “like Belle” and the preparation process went very positively for us. She handled surgery and hospitalization very well, and her recovery time was even quicker than we had remembered with Belle. The three weeks until her initial stimulation flew by, and we couldn’t believe the day had come. Hannah looked around when her implant audiologist, Vicki Wauchope, turned her on for the first time and then returned to playing with the toys in front of her. Vicki slowly turned up the volume with little reaction from Hannah. I was so thankful that she didn’t cry or seem scared. When the program was set, Vicki asked Hannah to repeat some sounds, and she did! She even repeated her name, which made me start to cry. She continued to progress quickly, and every week Hannah got updated programs to ramp her up to maximum hearing. Now at almost 4 months post-activation, Hannah understands everything that she previously understood and is adding new vocabulary daily. She has begun to add “s”, “sh”, “t”, “p”, and “ch” to her spontaneous language. I am amazed at this technology and what it has given Hannah. She is thriving with her implant and wonders why everyone else doesn’t have one, it’s so great! What a miracle we are witnessing.