Sunday, February 20, 2011

the future

I've been following along on Facebook with the Cochlear Celebration going on this weekend in Orlando, FL. I'm looking forward to taking Lucas to the celebration some year when he can appreciate it a little more, and he's not such a handful.

The thing that struck me most from the pictures, was the teenagers and adults with cochlear implants. I'm used to seeing Lucas and a couple of other kids with CIs, but not teens and adults. It struck me hard that this is our reality. This will always be a part of his life, always. I've certainly come to terms with his deafness and his CIs, but sometimes it's hard for me to digest that THIS IS FOREVER. He will not grow out of this.

As much as I'm okay with him having them now, I'm not yet ready to see teenage Lucas with CIs, and certainly not adult Lucas with CIs. I'll grow accustomed to it, sure, just like when he got his first pair of hearing aids, and both times he got his CIs. I remember the day he got his hearing aids and I was so excited to watch him react to sound (that day never came). I remember the first day he wore his Freedom, and how tough it was to see it on his head. I remember the day he got his N5, and how bothered we were that the magnet is not even on his head with the other one. We hardly notice it anymore, and it even looks strange when he's only wearing one CI. They're a part of him. End of story.

It also got me thinking about what Cochlear's processor will look like 10 years from now when Lucas becomes a teenager, and what it will look like 20 years from now when he enters young adulthood. Just look at how the Cochlear brand processor has morphed over the past 20 years:

I know that the processor will be smaller, sleeker, and more waterproof. Heck, maybe it won't even hang on the ear anymore. Maybe it will just be a small magnet on the head. Whatever it is, I know it will be cutting edge, changing the lives of deaf children and adults all around the world. And really, who cares what it looks like!

I'd like to meet some more teens and adults with CIs so it doesn't seem so distant to me. That's easier said than done, as it was hard enough to find other children in our area, but it will be good for all of us, Lucas included. 


Emily said...

I agree, it is hard to grasp that this is "forever". I remember feeling very anxious right before Sophie's surgery and having second thoughts because it is so permanent. I know that we made the right choice, though!

Lucas and Sophie are lucky to have been born at this time with this amazing technology. It's kind-of exciting to think about what is yet to come. :)

leah said...

The "foreverness" of it hits me at times too (when dosing out Nolan's anti-reflux meds and when thinking about the future with his hearing).

I have a feeling CI's will eventually go to just the coil portion, and won't need the BTE part of the set-up. Have you seen Med-El's vibrant soundbridge? It is an implanted hearing aid, but one that just uses the attached coil with no BTE portion. I've kept it in the back of my mind with Nolan, since they are using it in Europe instead of the BAHA device. No screw through the skin, and it works very well for children with mixed hearing losses who can't get enough power from acoustic aids. It isn't approved in the US, though, so our options remain the BAHA and acoustic hearing aids.

Still, if Med-El has done this with an implantable direct-drive middle ear implant, CI's can't be all that far behind. I wonder which company will come out with it first?

tammy said...

I so relate to this post as I thought the same thing as I looked through the Cochlear Celebration pics. As I flipped through them smiling, I wondered if it would be Aiden in those pics one day ... and the thought continued as I tried to picture Aiden as a teenager and adult with a CI. It's exciting to think of what's to come, what the equipment will look like, but for the time being, I think I'll stay in the now and focus on starting preschool. That's about all I can handle. lol

mbishopp said...

I agree with you, in 10 years I too wouldn't be surprised if everything was on the magnet. I heard that is the directions they are taking it. Can't wait!