George's cochlear implant journey: Part 1Published Date: 04 May 2023
Following on from George’s hearing loss diagnosis, we were issued hearing aids. We weren’t entirely sure what to expect from these. With George’s level of hearing loss, we were told that his best chance for accessing speech would be cochlear implants but that we must try hearing aids first, which would also stimulate the nerve.
We chose to go with a blue pair which come with a green ear hook and clear moulds. We thought this was the best colour choice for us at the time. It also helped that people could see the green ear hook when he was laid in the pram or car seat, so they knew to adjust how they communicate with him.
The appointment itself was a total blur. Although the audiologist gave us all the information we needed without trying to overload us, I left feeling like we’d been thrown into the deep end with these little devices and felt totally clueless!
However, they turned out to be a lot more simple and less frightening than I first thought. We soon got into a routine of cleaning them, testing them, changing the batteries, putting them in their dry tub and so on. It became a part of our daily routine pretty quickly.
The best part is that George started recognising that he was getting something positive from the hearing aids. Obviously, we won’t ever know what he was actually hearing, but every single morning when I’d put his hearing aids in, he would give me the biggest smile and start chatting away! There were the odd occasions when we were questioning, “Did he hear that?!”, but overall, I don’t think he had access to speech which is our goal.
As George was growing so fast, we were having to make appointments at the hospital every one to two weeks to get new ear moulds made. As the mould started to get too small, sound would leak and it would make the most annoying noise… but as parents, you soon get used to it!
We used Stick ‘n’ Stay (double-sided tape) to keep his hearing aids in place. This worked really well for us until he got to nine months old when he started pulled them off and chewing them! Yep, that heart-in-the-mouth moment when you hear the screeching noise of the microphone on the hearing aid being covered and realise your baby has their hearing aid in their mouth!
Overall, our experience of hearing aids was a positive one. Although they didn’t give George access to speech, he got used to having something on and in his ear. And for us as parents, it was a way to ‘dip our toes’ into the hearing devices world before deciding about cochlear implants.