A progressive loss…

My son, Carter, was diagnosed at age 4 with progressive hearing loss. At that time he had a moderate hearing loss in the low frequency range and a severe to profound loss in the high frequency range. We were very surprised, because no one else in our family has hearing loss. The etiology of Carter’s hearing loss is unknown. However, he had many viruses with high fevers.

Carter was fit with very powerful hearing aids. Within six months, Carter could not understand spoken language — even with his hearing aids. His audiologist said he was probably a candidate for a cochlear implant. We were grateful to hear there was hope! Carter was enrolled in a school for hearing impaired children. The school used total communication and Carter was having a very difficult time communicating and he was very frustrated. We were referred to another hospital in Chicago for consultation and evaluation. They said Carter was a candidate for the cochlear implant. He was oral, so they thought he would do very well.

The next step was to select the type of implant best suited for Carter. After much research, we selected Cochlear’s Nucleus 24. We liked that the company had been around for a long time, and we were excited about the Esprit 3G BTE. Carter was implanted with the Nucleus 24 on January l5, 2002 in Chicago. His surgery went very well without any complications. His ”hook-up” date was February l0, 2002, four days after his fifth birthday.

Because of the cochlear implant, a whole new world opened up for Carter. At first, he wasn’t sure about all the new sounds, but with time he has grown to love his cochlear implant. We took him to auditory verbal therapy two days per week. He was also in speech at his Total Communication school (a school where oral and sign language are used).

In the beginning Carter was using 2 to 3 word sentences. Within six months, he was speaking in paragraphs. He was doing so well that the next fall he was mainstreamed into kindergarten. Kindergarten went very well for him. We decided to enroll him at the same school for first grade. He knows all his letter sounds, he can read, write and is learning Spanish!

Carter no longer is required to go to auditory verbal therapy or speech. He still sees a hearing itinerant four times a week at our public school. Each session is 1/2 hour long. The hearing itinerant works on language development, such as vocabulary development and reading skills. Carter has become quite a sports buff. He loves to play baseball, and reads the daily newspaper to check out all the sports scores.

In conclusion, we couldn’t be more grateful for the cochlear implant. It has made a tremendous difference in Carter’s life, as well as mine. He is a very happy normal little six year old who loves sports, especially baseball (maybe the Cubs will make it next year).


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