Its activation day! We are headed to New Orleans to visit with his audiologist. We were told to expect that new sounds can be very frightening to a newly implanted child and he is most likely to cry or scream. Regardless of what will happen, I will be there record it. I hope the little man has a good experience. When he was activated, he smiled. They did the left first and then the right. Now comes the fun part of trying to keep them on him. He was quickly able to identify sound and he liked it. Jennifer began to talk to him and he smiled and tried to grab her mouth. That was the first time he saw her lips moving and something was coming out of it. We started with the left ear first, then the right, and then both at the same time. I must have been exciting for him to hear all these new noises. He hasn’t tried to pull them off too much, but his ear is so small it is falling off just with him moving his head around. Jennifer had to ride back next to him in the van because every time he turned his head it would pop off. It was such a positive experience we are going to post those videos on YouTube and share it with our family.
Two weeks ago we could have taken Landon to the airport, sat him on the runway next to a plane taking off, and he wouldn’t have blinked an eye. Fast forward to today – he can be playing with a toy and if you hit the drum or shake a rattle behind him he will turn around to find the sound. He is also trying to imitate some sounds. If you say Aaahhh – he will say it back to you; this is a new game for him. We can go back and forth for ten minutes and he’ll keep doing it. He has also said Mmmmm a couple of times when we are feeding him. He did it with me first, and then a couple of days later repeated it when Jennifer said it. He had his first speech therapy since activation last Wednesday. Our ST was impressed with his motor skills – the last time she had seen him we were debating doing PT. He also turned to different sounds for her. We go Thursday morning for his next mapping session. I wish they would do another booth test so we could determine his hearing level.
This is a clip we had made of Landon reacting to sound. His brother Connor is the helper. It also shows Landon mimicking the AAhhh sound. Now he can mimic the Aahhh and Mmmm sounds in both long and short – Aaaahhhh and Ah, Ah, Ah, Ah. We’ve also noticed he has gotten a lot louder just in general these days. Whether he is making sounds playing or even his crying, he is definitely showing a difference with the implants on. In the morning before we put them on and in the evening after we take them off he becomes very quiet again. We went for another mapping Thursday. We are going slower through these programs than the first time. With his first map we could go through all 5 steps on a program in a day and it wouldn’t phase him. With this one, if we bump him too soon you can tell he gets a little agitated and fussy like it is bothering him. We have gone through program 1 and are almost done with program 2. We go back on Dec. 10 for his next mapping. She told us when we get those that it would be closer to his NRT (the testing they did in surgery). She will also do a booth test to see what levels he is hearing at.
There is much more to this story, but for the purposes of this manuscript, I will stop significant journal entries at this point. This journey took us a total of 13 months. Landon is now seven years old and continues to make great progress. In proceeding years, I switched careers, launched a scholarly website dedicated to providing research on cochlear implants and completed my doctorate studies the effects of mobile technology on learning. We have lived through ear infections and normal everyday childhood moments with Landon. In the beginning we were keenly aware that Landon was deaf. Now, its not something we give a second thought, it is just part of him; its part of us. Looking back what seem to be the worse day of our lives with Landon, has given us a unique and valuable journey with our little man. That fun continues today…