CI Activation

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Not the Typical Textbook CI Case

Over the last two weeks, Thomas has been in the booth to test his left (non-CI ear) ear three different times. The first time we tested we learned that the left ear had gotten worse, changing from a reverse slope moderately-severe-mild to moderately-severe across all the frequencies. The second time we tested we learned that Thomas had unaided speech recognition at about 45dB, better than what we had the first time. Then, he was too tired to continue. So, we went back the next day to complete the test. This time, the left ear tested at a moderate loss across the frequencies with a slight dip in the mid frequencies. His audiologist explained that this was called a cookie bite audiogram.

I knew that his hearing was fluctuating because of his reaction to songs and talking while in the bathtub, without his technology on. At the beginning of the two weeks, he wasn't responding as usual to songs like "Five Little Ducks" and "Wheels on the Bus." By the end of the two weeks, he was giving me the sounds to these songs as well as pointing to his different body parts when asked to show them. He was even able to differentiate between toes and nose.

So at the end of our last audiology appointment, we changed the setting on his aid & he was also given a "bad hearing day" program that I can use if I see that he isn't responding to the songs in the bathtub. If we move to the "bad day" program for more than two days, I'll contact his audiologist and we will go back to the booth to test him again.

Thomas' audiologist also reviewed with me all of the previous audiogram results to show me the changes that have happened to his left ear over the last two years. His audiogram file was more like a book than a file. It was amazing to see how we have gone from a typical hearing loss slope with more loss in the high frequencies to a reverse slope with more loss in the low frequencies to now a cookie bite with slightly more loss in the mid-frequencies.

As I reviewed these audiograms, I was so thankful that our amazing team of experts went ahead and implanted Thomas' other ear. By not waiting for a severe to profound loss bilaterally, we are now able to manage changes in his left ear without losing language because his CI ear is giving us consistency and stability. This wonderful team of experts didn't wait for Thomas to become the "typical CI textbook case." They are managing him as an individual, which is really a blessing to us.

Even with all the changes in his left ear over the last two weeks, Thomas has actually gained both receptive and expressive language and even said his first three word sentence. He now knows his primary colors and is saying "buu" for blue and "mewow" for yellow. He has added banana, peek-a-boo, me, and other words to his repertoire. And, his teachers at school are reporting more spontaneous language during class. At school, they are working on a transportation unit. See the picture of Thomas below dressed up as an airplane, too cute!

All of this language development makes me again feel so blessed. We are blessed with a wonderful team working with Thomas! And, I'm blessed with a little boy that isn't the typical textbook case.