Can you hear me?

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, Adelaide, on the 24th of January, had the highest recorded temperature since their record keeping began. The highest temperature recorded was at Parafield Airport, where it reached 47.7 degrees Celsius. In Adelaide CBD it hit 46.6, the highest temperature recorded at the Bureau’s official Adelaide city site in its history.
I mention this because on this particular Thursday Alex and I headed into the women’s and children’s hospital for the second half of his cochlear surgery.
This was the surgery to install the receiver-stimulator, electrode and magnet unit and according to Dr Sonja everything went really well. They tested the device before they completed the surgery and the it responded on all frequencies, so things were looking pretty good.

Resting with Alex later that afternoon, I got a phone call from nieces. Miss Izzy called me up and said she, her mum (Auntie Amy) and her little sister Tilly were all coming into the hospital. She had been preliminarily diagnosed as a type one diabetic by her GP, so of course, heading to hospital was a must. When they arrived I left Alex under the eye of one of the amazing nurses and nipped down to ED. Having had first hand experience with a fresh diagnosis and the circus that ensues, I know that Tilly would get pretty bored and that were she not there Amy would be able to concentrate on Izzy and the tidal wave of new information coming her way. So Tilly came up to Alex’s ‘room’ and we played some games and did some colouring, and pretty generally had fun until Grandpa came by to take her home.
It was kind of surreal the next morning, once we had the ok to go home, to go downstairs to visit Izzy and to be the ones leaving the hospital!
Izzy was and is a completely amazing individual and she just dealt with the 90 degree turn her life just made, in similar fashion to Alex all those years ago. Kids are so amazingly resilient.

We headed home and two weeks later once the surgery site had healed, on the 7th of February we headed back in. It was switch on day!
We weren’t expecting the dramatic response you see on some youtube videos – where completely deaf children hear for the first time – but what we did see was nonetheless heartwarming.
The external part of the cochlear device was plugged directly into the computer so there was no ambient noise, effectively this meant he couldn’t ‘cheat’ by using his headband to hear the sound. On each of the 12 frequencies the sound level was set to its lowest volume and slowly increased until Alex could hear it.
Watch the video here:

So the unit is working, external sounds are triggering the implant to stimulate the nerve, and now Alex’s brain has to learn to interpret the nerve impulses.
This is a relatively slow process, taking around 3 months or so. Right now Alex can hear sounds via the implant but if you ask him to turn off his regular hearing aid and then speak to him, he can hear the sound but his brain isn’t interpreting the sound as speech.
While we know he’s not hearing ‘properly’ using the new unit, his overall hearing has seemed to improve a little, whether the extra sensory input is allowing him to hear better via the headband aid or whether the fact that there is simply more sound that he’s aware of is encouraging him to pay more attention, he does seem to be picking up on more sounds than previously.

We have audiology appointments scheduled for next week so we’ll see what they have to say after a fortnight of use, we’ll keep you posted!