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Recently, I was approached by Cochlear to work together on their “I Want You To Hear” campaign. I was not sure at first because no one in my family has experienced hearing loss, but they opened my eyes to how we could share resources around an important topic that could help someone who has a child with hearing loss. And I know that hearing loss can be a sensitive topic, so know I am sharing this information as education and to share the experience we had meeting up with a mom who has a daughter with cochlear implants! I’m sure most of you guys have seen them or heard of them, but if you haven’t, let me give you a little background on cochlear implants.
Research shows that for children with hearing loss, the sooner they receive access to sound, the sooner they are able to learn to listen and speak like other children1,2. Cochlear implants are designed to help a child develop speech. The cochlear implant sound processor (as pictured below) that you wear behind your ear transfers sound through the coil to the implant. Cochlear implants are a proven medical treatment for children born with severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss and have become an established treatment for children as young as 12 months with profound hearing loss.
Did you know that according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, more than 90 percent of deaf children are born to hearing parents. Interesting right? Learning your child has hearing loss can be very overwhelming. My goal from this partnership is to just open the conversation up a little bit and bring more awareness and information on the benefit of cochlear implants if you face this scenario.
Fun fact – I used to know ASL pretty fluently (though I’ve lost a lot of it, that’s what happens when you don’t get to use it all the time) and actually studied deaf education for about a year when I was attending the University of Utah back in the day. 😉 So, this topic is something that I
already have a love for and think the technology behind cochlear implants is incredible and fascinating. However, that being said I know deciding on an implantable hearing solution is the personal choice of any family and I 100% respect that.
Blake and I got to meet up with a local little girl and her Mom at the park to get her story and learn more about how cochlear implants have positively affected their family. And that’s really what I want to share because in my opinion knowledge is power, especially when it comes to making the best decisions for our little ones. I want Blake to know things and learn and not be afraid to ask (kind) questions. The little girl was 8 years old and has had her cochlear implants since she was young. While many early intervention factors contribute to a child succeeding with a cochlear implant, research and over two decades of experiences demonstrate cochlear implants provide improved speech and language development, quality of life and educational outcomes for children with hearing loss1,2,3. This little girl also had two older siblings that her Mom told me about that didn’t have that as the case because Cochlear technology came out later after they were born. So they received them at older ages and their Mom explained there was a huge difference in her older children’s speech and learning compared to her younger daughter. But, the technology has been really beneficial overall for each child. In her family, they all know ASL even with the cochlear implants, which I love and she just expressed to me how incredible the technology has been for her family and how far we’ve come in resources in schools and public places that help those with hearing impairments. I totally agree with her, especially having studied it and now having a husband and sister as a teacher – it’s all things I hear about in how classrooms are set up and lessons are taught.
I love how open and honest this sweet Mom and her daughter were to just share their story and let Blake ask questions. Which were really cute by the way 😉 Like “do you wear them while you sleep?” and “How do you go swimming?” I love kids. Which the answers are no to sleeping with the sound processor + they have special accessories to go over the sound processor for swimming, so they can do that while wearing them 😉 Then Blake asked me about 15 times on the way home if I could please text her Mom so they could play again. HA!
I hope this helped answer any questions you may have had about cochlear implants or has helped you with resources for you or someone you know who may have a child with hearing loss or even just give you more knowledge to an actually really cool topic! You can learn more over on their website, here.
Please seek advice from your health professional about treatments for hearing loss. Outcomes may vary, and your health professional will advise you about the factors which could affect your outcome. Always read the instructions for use. Not all products are available in all countries. Please contact your local Cochlear representative for product information. Views expressed are those of the individual. Consult your health professional to determine if you are a candidate for Cochlear technology.
1Hammes DM, Novak MA, Rotz LA, et al. Early identification and the cochlear implant: Critical factors for spoken language development. Ann Otol Rhino Laryngol 2002;111:74-78. 10.
2Tharpe AM, Gustafson S. Management of Children with Mild, Moderate, and Moderately Severe Sensorineural Hearing Loss. Otolaryngol Clin North Am 2015 Sep 30.
3Novak MA, Firszt JB, Rotz LA, et al. Cochlear implants in infants and toddlers. Ann Otol Rhino Laryngol Suppl 2000;185:46-49.