This is a sponsored post with Cochlear Americas though words and opinions are my own.
Do you know someone who is struggling with hearing loss? Is hearing loss affecting their daily life? Is their current hearing solution not enough? Cochlear implants are a proven medical treatment for adults with moderate to profound hearing loss in both ears and who are not receiving enough benefit when using hearing aids. For children, they are approved for children 12-24 months old who have bilateral profound sensorineural hearing loss and children aged 2-17 born with severe to profound sensorineural bilateral hearing loss.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), one in every three people 65 years of age and over and one in every two people 75 years of age and over has hearing loss.
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The effect of hearing loss can impact all relationships in a person’s life. If you or someone you love is showing signs of hearing loss, there are solutions to help treat their hearing loss that are available right now. Hearing aids are the first step to treating hearing loss. However, if hearing aids are not providing enough benefit, it might be time to consider a cochlear implant.
The Difference Between Hearing Aids and Cochlear Implants
Hearing aids are different from cochlear implants. For some people, using hearing aid(s) with a moderate to profound hearing loss can be like listening to a loud, badly tuned radio. It may be loud enough, but the words are not clear.
A cochlear implant is an FDA-approved, surgically implanted medical device that replaces the function of the inner ear (cochlea) and is designed to mimic natural hearing. Cochlear implants are designed to provide clearer sound to help you understand what is being said.
A Mother’s Gift To Her Child
I had the opportunity to meet a mother who helped her baby girl by giving her the gift of hearing. Her daughter, Ronie, didn’t pass the newborn hearing test in the hospital. In fact, she failed all the hearing tests. Ruthie was familiar with the benefits of cochlear implants prior to her daughter’s birth so she knew immediately her daughter would benefit from them. In this case, there was no other option if she wanted her daughter to have the opportunity to hear. She was steadfast in this belief and pursued this option from the very beginning.
So when Ronie was old enough, she had her cochlear implant surgery. She was mainstreamed immediately and has been in school since she was 2 years old. She is not only adorable but smart as a whip.
Ronie does receive speech help. A teacher of the deaf (TOD) comes to her school to educate her classroom teacher on how to help instruct children with cochlear implants. Things we don’t notice like acoustics, the sound of chairs moving around, and pitches that are better than other sounds are taught to the teacher. These are things a teacher would probably never notice until they are pointed out. The teacher also wears an FM unit which streams to the cochlear device to help Ronie hear her teacher.
Ruthie pointed out that even with cochlear implants, helping her daughter through her hearing journey has definitely involved work for the parents. There is a lot of speech therapy for which Ronie sees a specialist and doctors appointments, but she felt the majority of appointments and work were in Ronie’s early years. Ruthie decided to focus on listening and spoken language rather than teaching her sign language. Their decision was what was right for their family. She assured me though that with hard work the results are beyond amazing. In fact she feels cochlear implants are a miracle. Her daughter has a normal life and can do whatever she wants with no obstacles.
Ronie wears Nucleus 7 Sound Processors but had Nucleus 5 Sound Processors when she received her cochlear implants. Ronie and other recipients are lucky to get the newest technology with their cochlear implant sound processors without the need for another surgery. In fact her Nucleus 7 Sound Processors are compatible* with Apple® devices. Ruthie can use the Nucleus Smart App on her iPhone® to see if batteries on her sound processors are running low, or adjust the volume on her sound processors. Ronie can even watch something on her iPad® and have the sound streamed directly to her cochlear implants. So, while everyone else hears background noise when they listen to their device, Ronie does not hear anything but the sound. There is also a True Wireless TV Streamer that makes it easier for Ronie to hear the television.
I asked Ruthie how this all affected the rest of her family. “The beginning was tough,” she told me. “The older kids (a 22 year old son, an 18 year old daughter and another son, 12) were a bit scared. They didn’t know how Ronie’s hearing loss would affect them. However, that soon passed. Ronie is bi-lingual. She speaks English and Hebrew fluently, knows quite a bit of Spanish and is starting to learn Mandarin.”
She continued, “We made sure to never make her hearing loss sound like a disability. In fact, Ronie says she is so lucky.” And she is, she has the gift of hearing and a normal life.
So of course I had to ask Ruthie what she then thought of cochlear implants for an adult. “Cochlear implants are life-changing. If they did this for my daughter, just imagine what they can do for someone who has lost the ability to hear.”
Cochlear implants really can make you unstoppable. Again.
If you or someone you love has hearing loss and is struggling to hear in their hearing aids, visit cochlear’s site HERE.
Please seek advice from your health professional about treatments for hearing loss. Outcomes may vary, and your health professional will advise you about the factors which could affect your outcome. Always read the instructions for use. Not all products are available in all countries. Please contact your local Cochlear representative for product information.
Views expressed are those of the individual. Consult your health professional to determine if you are a candidate for Cochlear technology.
*For information on sound processor and app compatibility, visit www.cochlear.com/compatibility. Apple, iPhone and iPad are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.
Views expressed are those of Ruthie. Consult your health professional to determine if you are a candidate for Cochlear technology.
Photos: Gretchen Murcott
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