Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Matthew's Cochlear Implant Activation
Remember Matthew, my friend's son who received a cochlear implant several weeks ago?
Yesterday was his activation day and it went rather well. Sue, Matthew and I arrived at Children's Memorial and we were joined by a Department of Specialized Care for Children representative who wanted to watch the activation. The hospital also provided an interpreter.
The audiologist placed the implant on Matthew's head and hooked it up to a laptop. She explained that she was going to "map" the implant so that the sounds would be comfortably low. "Are you ready?" she asked Matthew.
At first, Matthew heard nothing. Then his face lit up and he said, "I heard that." The audiologist asked him to point to a colored chart with responses that ranged from "too soft," to "too loud." She was aiming for a "sounds perfect" response on the chart. Within a half hour, she reached a mapping that Matthew was comfortable with.
"How does it sound?" Sue asked. Matthew explained that the sounds were sort of mechanical. The audiologist explained that over time, the brain would adapt to the sounds and it would improve.
The audiologist introduced the Ling sounds to Matthew. Ling sounds are "oo, ee, ah, sh, ss, and mm." She covered her mouth and went through the sounds. Matthew raised his hand on every sound. This is the kid who sometimes couldn't hear his own name hollered. Sue and I stared at each other--we couldn't hear two of the Ling sounds.
Matthew heard them all.
The audiologist then asked Matthew to repeat the Ling sounds after her. He was able to hear the sounds but not repeat them accurately. It will take time, practice and several more mappings before he can get the full potential of the implant and even then, it remains to be seen how much auditory benefit he will gain.
Matthew picked out a colorful blue-swirled covering for the magnet and the implant processor to match the one his friend has. Arriving home, Sue texted me, "Matthew listened to music on the way home. He says it sounds better!"
A similar post can be found at: Matthew's Activation.