It’s official guys!! James has officially been approved to receive cochlear implants in both ears!!! His surgery date April 25th which is only a month away!! AHHHH. This news is just such a weight lifted off of my shoulders since I’ve been waiting for this news for what seems like an eternity.
I know most of you don’t know much about cochlear implants because I didn’t know much about them before James’ diagnosis, so I thought I’d give you all quick run down on the very basics.
Cochlear Implants (CI’s for short) convert sound into electrical pulses which then stimulate the auditory nerve. The brain then interprets that as sound! Pretty incredible right?!?
How it works. (this is summarized from Cochlear’s booklet of information)
- The outside part that we will see is called the Processor. This device houses the microphone where the sound is picked up and the audio processor which codes the sound into a digital information.
- From there that digital information is sent to the coil and is transmitted across the skin through a magnet to the implant.
- The implant interprets the code and sends the pulses to the electrodes that are put in the cochlea.
- The auditory nerve picks up that signal and sends it to the brain. Then the brain will recognizes that as sound.
If you don’t quite understand all of that, don’t panic. I didn’t quite get it at first either. I honestly still don’t know if I really know whats happening! All you need to know is this.
- There’s an outside part that hears the sound and looks like a bluetooth. It attaches to James’ head by magnets
- There’s an inside part that receives that sound and somehow magically sends its to the brain bypassing the damaged part of the cochlea.I assume this is done by some sort of wizardry
- The CI processors aren’t permanently on all the time. They are only attached to the head by magnets and hooked on to the ear. They pop off oretty easily if you pull on them….so that should be interesting with a curious boy who loves exploring. 🙄
- James will hear most sounds, but has to be taught how to understand what those sounds are. This takes time. Sometimes lots of time. He also won’t be able to hear from far distances but therapy will teach him ways to cope with that!
- Implants don’t restore natural hearing. Think of them as a tool used to have access to sound. My friend Kelsey who has a daughter with cochlear implants around James’ age explains it perfectly on her recent blog post. you can read about her experience here! Kelsey’s blog
(This is what an implant looks like when its on!…this is not James haha)
So at the end of April James will have his surgery and they will put in the implant part and then about three weeks after that they will program and put on his processors. Exciting stuff right??!?
BUT there’s even more news!!
What’s even more exciting is James signed his first word! Can you believe it? My 11 month old is signing!! I woke up one morning with james and handed him his new dog stuffed animal and he signed “Dog” to me!! I don’t think I could have praised him enough!! I just kept cheering for him. James also knows “More” “Hi” “So big” and “hat”. Each day I feel like he’s learning more signs and that just makes my heart so happy.
One Last thing!
For those of you who pray I ask that you keep James and me in your prayers on April 25th. For those of you who don’t pray I ask that you keep James and me in your thoughts!