Friday, May 29, 2009

Sound from Silence

Well, the big day was Wednesday. Sophie was so excited that morning...she woke up signing "Today, CI" We made a road trip out of it, and we kept Sarah and Meg of school, and Mick took off work. Sophie was ready, understood what was going on, and her teacher, the infamous KB met us there. How cool is that? Kate herself has a cochlear implant, and was so excited to see Sophie's reaction. Kate has been such a great teacher for Sophie, and we appreciate her help, support, and patience this school year. As a teacher, I know the love and affection Kate feels for Sophie, and how she appreciated teaching such a bright, fun, challenging child!

The audiologist showed us how the implant works, and took us through the steps of turning it on, placing the batteries in, finding the settings, etc. Luckily Matt was there to help with the details (trust me, later that night I needed him to refresh my memory). After she showed us the device, she gave Sophie the ear piece to try on. Sophie took it and placed it on immediately, knowing exactly what to do from watching the other kids in class do it. She went out into the hall to 'play' and when I checked on her, she was taking apart the device, replacing the batteries, and playing with the controls! Sophie, Sophie, Sophie!!! Needless to say, the first thing Matt and I asked to learn was how to lock the controls, and we will NOT let her see us doing it as she will quickly find out how to undo it!

The audiologist said we were the largest group who had ever fit into their small room to see an activation. With Kate, we made eight, and we all waited while the controls were set and the CI activated.

Sophie sat with the head piece on and a wire attached to the bottom of her CI and connected to the computer. (We will be able to use this port to attach her earpiece to an ipod!) She sat expectantly, and the activation began. She was still and solemn, and a bit worried. She did not react at first, and we were not sure what she was hearing. As the testing began, she suddenly had a different look on her face, and when asked by the audiologist if she could hear her, Sophie nodded yes!

At this point in the process, Sophie is on a low setting, and is just beginning the process of hearing. We think that you turn on the CI and you can hear, sort of like turning up the volume on the TV, but not so. The brain is so much more complicated than that, and we are learning, every day, what she can hear.

We went out to lunch after leaving the hospital, and at the restaurant she was beginning the realize that she was hearing things for the first time. She asked what a sound was, and she mimicked a humming sound was the music playing in the restaurant. Later, in the ladies room, Sophie flushed the toilet, and then looked in amazement at the water as it swirled in the bowl and signed, "I hear it!"

Matt and I learned a long time ago that miracles are a part of our every day life, if we just stop and see them as they are. But now, we are watching miracles every day, with Sophie. It has only been two days, and we are only at the beginning of this process, but what a joy to see a little girl get so much delight from hearing her feet walking on the hardwood floor, or listening to water flow into the sink. The dog barking, the phone ringing, the sound of the keys being placed on the counter...everyday sounds that our brains never even pay attention to we are so used to them, and they seem so meaningless. Now, for us, there is meaning to every sound, and joy in hearing Sophie tell us to be quiet!!! (No, that's a major accomplishment!!!)

Stay tuned as we begin therapy next week, and continue to watch miracles happen!


  1. Wow Maryanne, what an experience! I got goosebumps reading your post. Thanks for sharing your (and Sophie's) miracle :)

    Chris (from ZZ group)

  2. That is absolutely amazing - wow!