Canton, OH 44708
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Alex lost his hearing from pneumoccal bacterial meningitis
at 8 months of age. Alex was fitted almost immediately with two BTE Phonak
Pico Forte hearing aids. Along with weekly physical and occupational therapy
visits and trips to the audiologist, Alex had two auditory-verbal therapy
sessions per week as well. It was a hectic schedule but we were determined
to help Alex regain as much of his hearing abilities as possible.
In June of 1994, we took Alex to the Helen Beebe Center's
Larry Jarrett House. The week long auditory-verbal intensive visit
strengthened our weakening spirit. Although Alex made only limited
verbalizations, we were hopeful that we could tap into his residual hearing
enough to help him acquire speech and language.
We returned home and I observed Alex closely over the
passing summer months. His physical strength began to return, however, it
became apparent that his hearing loss was not going to be sufficiently aided
with conventional hearing aids. We made an appointment with Dr. Carol Flexer
at the University of Akron for October 1994. Her tests confirmed that when
Alex was aided, he showed no response at 120 dB HL. The results confirmed
what I had been suspecting and it freed us to pursue a cochlear implant for
Alex. Alex was 17 months old when we began the implant evaluation process
with Dr. Franklin Rizer at the Warren Otologic Group in Warren, Ohio.
On January 24, 1995 -- one year and four days after
meningitis took our son's hearing, 20 month old Alex was implanted with the
Nucleus 22 Channel implant.
The results have been nothing short of phenomenal. Alex is
continually closing the gap between his hearing age and his chronological
age and is always picking up incidental language from his brothers. His
speech is intelligible to virtually everyone he speaks with and he is quite
capable of ordering his own food and communicating his needs and wants.
Alex is a very active but loving child. He loves swimming,
basketball, trips to the zoo, singing, and playing on the computer. In the
four years since his implant, Alex has had the privilege of communicating
with this grandparents and great-grandparents who do not have English as a
first language. We feel blessed to live in an age when technology has
provided us the opportunity to give back to our child what he has lost: the
gift of sound. For our family, the combination of auditory-verbal therapy
and the implant has been the perfect formula for meeting the desired outcome
for our child.