Three months ago today, Lucas began the second part of his hearing journey... he began hearing with his second ear. It has not been an easy or quick adjustment, but Lucas is making good progress.
He still has not fully embraced the ear. If I forget to take it off when we get in the car, it inevitably ends up pulled apart and strewn around the car (just like his shoes). I like to avoid that at all costs, since I typically don't have an extra 10 minutes to play CI sleuth and risk not finding a piece.
He's still hesitant to wear his new ear alone. Even with a lot of bribery, he really resists any mention of wearing the new ear alone. He will wear it alone for his speech therapist though, so I'm thankful for that time every week. Tonight at speech therapy made it all worth it, to be able to watch him successfully listen with his new ear through the two-way mirror. She played a listening game with Mr. Potato Head. She would say the targeted body part and when he would choose correctly, he could put the piece on. When he stopped chattering long enough to listen, he got them all right! She also read a new book with him, and he was able to answer some of her questions, like "what is he doing?". I was impressed that she was even able to teach him (and have him repeat) new words with his new ear alone. He repeated "pinwheel" and one other word that I can't remember. I was very impressed!
He's definitely understanding, but he's still lacking confidence. I believe that his old ear sounds so great, so crisp, so normal to him, and the new ear is just okay. Maybe it's still a little fuzzy, or still has that robotic sound that we've all heard about. Although I have absolutely no idea what it sounds like to him, and he, of course, is unable to express what it sounds like to us, here is an example of what I perceive the progression over the last 3 months to loosely resemble. This example demonstrates how the sound quality changes with an increase in the number of channels, and has nothing to do with adjustment over time. Nonetheless, I think Lucas is still hearing (with his new ear) like the 3rd or 4th best repetition of that sentence... he can hear it and understand it, but it still sounds fuzzy and a little strange.
But, he's getting there, and it gets better every day. We don't go back to CHOP for his 3-month follow-up for another few weeks. I wonder what he will be doing in 3 more months? Continuing to exceed my expectations, I'm certain.
Lucas was born with profound bilateral sensorineural hearing loss to two hearing parents. He wore hearing aids starting at 3 months, but he got no benefit from them, as we soon found out. He received a cochlear implant in his right ear 3 days after his first birthday. His second ear was implanted 1 month before his third birthday. Cochlear implants have changed Lucas's life immensely. This site was developed to chronicle his life and progress learning to listen and speak!