Thursday, June 21, 2007


Welcome. This blog chronicles my daughter's journey through the process of getting a Cochlear Implant. Nichole is 15 years old and was diagnosed with a moderate to severe bilateral sernsorineural hearing imparement (~70dB) at 18 months old. She started wearing hearing aids bilaterally at 20 months. For those not up on all the lingo, this just means that she couldn't hear normal conversations as a baby, so she wore hearing aids in both ears (see how simple that can be).

We decided on the Auditory Verbal Therapy approach to help Nichole develope her speech. This worked very well. Nichole has very natural speech. Most people don't know that she has a hearing imparement unless they are told. Nichole has been mainstreamed in public school her whole life.

Over the years, Nichole's hearing loss slowly progressed (got worse), until this past year, while in the 9th grade, Nichole's hearing got noticiably worse. It had drifted down from her original 70dB loss, down to 100/105 dB. For those who don't know the numbers, that means she could stand beside heavy machinery (like jet engines) and just detect a little sound. Her hearing aides allowed her to only hear 45/60dB sounds. Her word discrimination in a sound booth was about 30%. That means, that in the best conditions, she could only understand 30% of the words she heard.

Nichole is a smart young woman though. She developed a good lipreading skill which helped her fill in the blanks. She always used an FM system in school, to help her hear her teachers during classes. But still, she was only understanding a small fraction of the words being said in each class. Even with all that, she managed A's and B's (with one C) during her Freshman year in high school.

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