By guest author: Renee Oehlerking
Alexis W., mom to Martin, looks back on her son’s scary bout of bacterial meningitis, which took his hearing. Having never dealt with hearing loss and not knowing about cochlear implants, Martin’s parents had to act fast to ensure he’d have access to sound again:
“Martin’s journey began on December 20, 2016 at 2 years of age when he became gravely ill and later was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis.
During this debilitating infection, Martin suffered four infarcts in his brain, fluid around his heart and profound bilateral hearing loss. It took a long time as his parents to process this suffering our son was enduring.
The hearing loss came as quite a shock to us, before this infection Martin had already developed language and was above his speech level for his age. When we learned about cochlear implants and found out our son was a candidate, we immediately began researching them because we had never heard of them before.
Making the decision to move forward with cochlear implants for Martin had to be quick for us. With meningitis, the cochlea begins to ossify at an extremely rapid rate, making implanting very difficult and not nearly as effective if you wait too long. As parents, we want the best for our son, and we truly believe making the decision to implant him with cochlear implants was the only choice that was right.
Martin was discharged from the hospital after 17 days on January 4, 2017; two days later, we got a call from the surgeon that Tuesday, January 10, would be his implant surgery date. This happened so quickly we didn’t know how to process it, let alone prepare.
However, Martin did amazing with his cochlear implant surgery and recovery after that. He was up and moving around hours after surgery, and later that night began to enjoy his favorite food (which is soup).
The time between his implant surgery and activation of his sound processors seemed like forever. The frustration and anxiety my son had because he couldn’t hear anyone began to show, and it was so difficult to explain anything to him at that point.
Then February 8, activation day, was here. My husband and I chose the Kanso® Sound Processors for Martin because we believed he would do wonderfully with only one piece of equipment.
After the first two mappings, it was very hard to notice a difference in his hearing, but then one day it clicked. He began repeating us, and he literally began talking up a storm. Right then, we knew we had made the right choice.
With his Kansos, our son has amazing wear time, and he puts his processors back on himself if they fall off. In terms of his language development, Martin is now testing in the normal range for speech and language at his age; we think this is due in part to getting him implanted as quickly as possible and due to the ease of which the Kanso Sound Processors stay on Martin’s head. Additionally, Martin is now in a mainstream daycare, and if his batteries have died while he’s there, he will tell his teachers on his own to help change them.
Martin’s cochlear implants changed our recovery as a family from his bacterial meningitis. It has helped to give my son back the courage to communicate again and take away from his anxiety of being around lots of people. He has a warm, open heart and sweet personality where he loves to be around people.
At two and a half years old, Martin has already overcome so many obstacles, and he will continue to excel on his journey. Thanks to his cochlear implants and Kanso Sound Processors, my son manages to continue happily!”
Learn more about the Nucleus® Kanso Sound Processor and how it can help your pediatric patients.
Published originally on Hear & Now.
About our guest author:
Renee Oehlerking is the Public Relations Manager at Cochlear Americas where she is responsible for the region’s public relations and consumer marketing social media. Renee enjoys uncovering, telling and showcasing the inspiring stories of hearing implant recipients. As a recent transplant to Denver, Colorado, Renee enjoys exploring all that the state has to offer outdoors.