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He Hears! He Hears!

Posted Sep 12 2008 10:43am

Yesterday we went back to Cincinnati to see the audiologist and get a new map for Ethan’s implant. The map is a specially designed set of instructions that tells each electrode how to stimulate the nerve endings in the cochlea. The audiologist connects his implant to a computer that programs his speech processor. The computer also performed an NRT test, or a neural response telemetry test. This just makes sure that all of the electrodes (there are 22) in the implant are correctly stimulating the auditory nerve. He passed that test with flying colors!

So the big news is that Ethan reacted to sound! The audi played a very annoying wood instrument behind him and he immediately started to scream and cry. I was able to calm him down and several minutes later she played the noise again. He reacted the same way, cried real tears and was very upset. You would think I’d be all smiles seeing first hand that he was hearing and responding, but I was too consumed with his unhappiness to really appreciate what was happening.

Ethan cried this morning when Rich put his processor on, not a good sign. I think we needed to give him more time to wake up because we tried again one hour later during therapy and he did really well. His therapist played all kinds of sounds and called his name from across the room and he turned several times to see what the sounds were. I’d say that he detected 90% of what she did during the session. Tomorrow she’s putting him in a sound booth so we can get more quantitative information since what we have so far is fairly subjective.

So now we are just going to have to remind ourselves to keep his environment free of too much background noise so that he can really learn to detect and distinguish sounds. We’ll have to “take him to sound” and really focus on teaching him to listen. Lots of work ahead of us, but the rewards are going to be fantastic!!
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