Ezekiel and Elijah's journey to cochlear implantation began shortly after birth. As mandated by state law, all newborns are required to have their hearing screened prior to discharge from the hospital. Ezekiel and Elijah did not pass their newborn hearing screen and were referred on for further diagnostic testing. Subsequent testing revealed significant hearing loss in both ears and the possibility of cochlear implantation came into question. The twins were referred on to University of Kansas Hospital, ENT Department, for cochlear implant consultation. They immediately began a hearing aid trial, as all children do prior to determining candidacy. All this happened before the age of 1!
In the midst of their hearing aid trial, the boys were medically worked up to determine cause of hearing loss. It was discovered that the cause of their hearing loss was Connexin 26. Hearing aids were found to provide minimal benefit, although not enough to develop speech and language as their normal hearing peers would. Cochlear implantation was the best option to achieve this outcome. After careful consideration, the family decided that they wanted to pursue cochlear implantation for the twins. Dr. Hinrich Staecker performed the surgery.
Initial activation of the external processor happened in February 2011 and each child responded well to the new sound. They are babbling and making sounds far more now than they did with their hearing aids. The boys are receiving intervention services through multiple sources to work on learning to listen with the implants and learning to develop speech and language.
Given the early age of identification of hearing loss, hearing aid trial, and obtaining cochlear implants close to the age of 1, the success with cochlear implants is high. With reprogramming of the external equipment frequently, enrollment in intervention services, and parental involvement, the twins will most likely catch up in terms of language and speech development to their normal hearing peers and be mainstreamed by the time they reach kindergarten.
"Although the prospect of surgery was scary after doing research on the procedure and our other alternatives I felt it was the best option for my boys and for our family," Marla, mother of Elijah and Ezekiel.