Friday, February 27, 2009

A little history

Douglas was Born 2-15-1993. I didn't discover he was deaf till July 4th. Back then they didn't do a screening for hearing in the hospital. When we thought he was deaf we went to our family doctor. When he opened the door to the room Douglas looked towards the door. He said, "oh he can hear, he heard the door open." FYI, most deaf people have excellent perifial vision. Well he told us that even if he has a hearing problem he would be fine till he was a year old then have him tested. My mom didn't except that answer and she called e.n.t specialist till she found one that would see him without a re feral. They tested him and told us they were sure he was profoundly deaf but they would like to refer us to Boystown National Research Hospital in Omaha Nebraska. Once there we discovered he heard at very high decibels in the low frequencies and pretty much nothing in the high ones. They fitted him with hearing aids and went with total communication. We made sure to have him wear them always. People would ask how we got him to keep them in. Persistence is what we would say. He did better than everyone expected but by six we realized that his hearing was very limited. We looked into a cochlear implant and he was excepted as a candidate. I knew nothing about them and as a young mom just went with whatever was offered. Woulda, shoulda, coulda gets you no where and I can't go back. When he was hooked up he didn't cry or get upset he wanted his hearing aid in but we told him to leave this on for now. Being six it was nice that he could communicate by sign and some voice to let us know he was hearing. A straw pulling through the plastic lid from McDonald's was so fascinating to him. Everything he heard he would stop and ask "did we hear that? What is that?" When he was implanted they only had the body worn. He had a fanny pack he keep the device in and the wire ran up under his shirt and through at the neck to connect to his magnet. They were working on the behind the ear and we received a voucher to get one once they were out. He has done well with them. I say "them" because he was implanted with his second about seven months ago. Advanced Bionics' batteries are not as they should be. They are suppose to hold a charge for up to fourteen hours. They last about four hours so he has to keep at least four batteries on him or he goes deaf. Also the prongs that connect to the device break easy. Other than the batteries everything has been well. He talks almost perfect. He signs just as well and I love that about him. He has had his ups and downs but for the most part, I think he is a well rounded, typical teenager.


  1. I'm Douglas' educational interpreter. This semester, Douglas is currently learning to weld in an Industrial Technology class.
    In the beginning, I had concerns about the electricity involved with welding and the possible effects it might have on the mechanics of the CI. The manufacturer of the CI was consulted and said that no research had been done regarding welding and the CI wearer, but, even with proper grounding, strongly suggested that the processor be removed- and NOT be placed in a pocket or nearby the welding equipment, to prevent possible damage to the CI.
    Douglas puts the processor in the adjoining classroom for safe keeping.
    During the first learning stages of the welding process I 'suited up' in the proper welding attire and went into the welding booth with Douglas to interpret if he had questions, or if the teacher gave added instruction and for general conversation between students.
    As Douglas has become more comfortable with the welding process, I no longer go into the booth with him, but, am available to interpret whenever he has a need.
    Soon, Douglas will begin a welding project using the various welds he has practiced. I will try to get pictures as this process continues!

  2. I am so inspired by your story. My 4 year old has a severe-profound loss and is doing so well in most areas of development. I do worry about him learning speech, and it helps to read stories of others with hearing loss and the pace that they gained speech and other developments.
    Thank you!

    BTW your white text on black background is visually straining. Just a suggestion.

  3. My one year old cochlear Implant battery would last 14 hours but my 13 year old cochlear Implant battery would last 4 hours so i would always carry 4 batteries for my older cochlear Implant.