Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Allie gets her cochlear implant.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) Allie will have Cochlear Implant surgery. We've been working up to this point for several months now, and the day is finally here! 

Here's a bit about our story. Allie was born with bilateral hearing loss, but has always had enough gain from her hearing aids to get by. She went through early intervention therapy and tons of speech etc. But the thing is, having enough hearing to get by isn't enough. Can you imagine having to work to understand every word? I've seen it so often, that I think I can imagine it. I don't like that. 

Getting by isn't enough. Allie's hearing has dipped a bit in the past year due to a series of ear infections. We responded initially by switching her to more powerful hearing aids. These hearing aids give as much amplification as is possible (without causing hearing loss), but it's just not cutting it. We've seen Allie struggle and fight to understand. She works hard. She's so very bright. But there's that struggle. Hearing shouldn't be such hard work. We started considering cochlear implants last summer when Allie flipped out at an appointment with her ENT (cleaning out the ears, no fun). This kind of behavior is fairly normal for Allie, though we've gotten much better at handling / preventing it. Her ENT (Dr Young) looked at me and suggested that this behavior is hearing related. She thinks that Allie's regular behavior problems are a result of spending more energy than normal focusing on hearing. 

So began our journey. After testing with the CI audiologists we see that in silence (as a normal audiology booth test) Allie has an accuracy rate of about 60%, she understands about 60% of what she hears with her hearing aids - in a silent room. But adding just a tiny bit of background noise (equivalent to maybe having your car air conditioning turned on halfway), and that accuracy drops to 30%. So in a normal, everyday setting Allie is catching about 1/3 of what we're saying. Great. No wonder we're having power struggles constantly!

SO - many appointments later and here we are. Allie is excited and nervous. Mostly she's nervous about the surgery / post surgery recovery. She's excited to be able to hear better, and she's MOST excited to go swimming! She'll have a sound processor that is waterproof - which means she can go swimming without getting in trouble for not following the rules. 

Allie has always been in the hearing world. She received her first hearing aids as an infant, and from the first day she loved them. She took to the hearing immediately. We didn't know what to expect, but she astounded us. I can only hope that she'll love her cochlear implant just as much. For now though, we'll handle the recovery. 

More about Allie's hearing story can be found here, here, and here.

hearing aid proud
Soon there will be a CI processor here instead of a hearing aid! 


  1. wishing her and you all the best for this exciting step xxx

  2. Wonderful. wonderful.
    My now departed uncle, born in 1905 was profoundly deaf. We all loved him dearly, but as a child, I could not communicate with him; and he, so very intelligent, held only a non-demanding job. He would be so pleased to see the advances that have been made since then and the opportunities to expand the abilities of the deaf to communicate with a wider group. Wishing Allie all the very best.

  3. Good luck Allie! Enjoy the sounds of the world!

  4. Sending lot's of good thoughts for Allie - that the surgery and recovery both go well. And then that she will enjoy her cochlear implants!

  5. I had no idea your sweet girl was challenged in this way. Wishing you all the best during this transition time...

  6. Hope all goes well - it is amazing what is possible!!