Cochlear Implant Awareness

Cochlear Implant Awareness

A cochlear implant is a small, complex electronic device that can help to provide a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or severely hard-of-hearing. The implant consists of an external portion that sits behind the ear and a second portion that is surgically placed under the skin.

Click here For more information on Cochlear Implants

Thank you to Johnnie Sexton, from The Care Project for helping us get cochlear shells for our bears.

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Christi Bearowtiz

Christi had an amazing time in Pittsboro, NC visiting her new friend Madison. Madi took Christi to her Dance Recita…

Christoff Bearowitz

Hi! My name is Christoff Bearowitz. I was born on March 24th 2009 with profound hearing loss in both
ears.

I passed all my newborn tests with flying colors except one; the hearing test. The doctors told my mom first
and she was very concerned. My dad was told later and he figured it had to be from all the fluid from when I was
born. I took the newborn hearing test several more times without success. That’s when my dad started to worry.
We were told that the machine fails all the time and that could be the reason I was not passing. We
were told to schedule an ABR with an ENT and that would give us an answer. My mom and dad had no idea what
an ABR was. We found out it is an Auditory Brainstem Response test that measures your brains’ reactions to
different sounds at different volumes. At 6 weeks old I was sedated and took my first ABR. That day I was officially
diagnosed with profound hearing loss in both of my ears. This news was very hard for my parents to hear. They
were upset, but ready to learn and ready to do whatever they could to help me succeed in life.

My parents learned a lot of new information the next several days. They found out I was going to need
speech therapy, hearing aids and eventually cochlear implants. It was a lot of information to handle, but was very
encouraging. I received my first set of hearing aids when I was 4 months old. We were told they might help me
hear some sounds, but would definitely stimulate any hair fibers that were working. We also knew it would help
me get comfortable with having something on my ears at an early age.

It was very difficult for my parents to put the hearing aids in my ears, but I wore them most of my waking
hours. I wore the hearing aids for 7 months and we did not see any change to my response to sound. My parents
were going to have to decide if I was going to get cochlear implants. They decided that having cochlear implants
would be the best choice for me. I had to take several more tests before my surgery including another ABR. This
was to make sure I was a candidate for cochlear implants. This was also a very nervous time for my parents but
they eventually found out I was a candidate.

On March 18th 2010 I had my bilateral cochlear implant surgery. I was out of the hospital in less than two
days and felt great. I was ready to hear but I had to wait for my ears to heal. One month later on April 12th 2010
my cochlear implants were activated. I heard my parents’ voices for the first time! We were all so happy and
proud. It was a great day. My parents were filled with motivation and excitement. I continued to do my speech
therapy 4 times a week with one exception; I WAS HEARING!

In six months I was repeating some of the ling six sounds and around 8 months I said my first word,
HOT! I stuck my hand into a bag of FIVE GUYS French fries and said, “HOT!” I have not looked back since. I am
now saying hundreds of words and I understand even more. I am putting sentences together as well. I go to a
mainstream preschool and continue speech therapy. I have been hearing for over 2 years now. I scored in the 90th
percentile on my preschool language test. I am so thankful to have all the help from my speech therapists, family
and friends. I can’t wait to start kindergarten when I turn five.

One last thing I want to tell you is that I have a sister bear, Christi. She also has cochlear implants and is doing great just like me. We love playing together. We play cars, blocks, and read lots of books. We love being outside playing with our dogs too. We have so much fun together. I love helping
her learn new things. We are very happy to be able to hear!!

I would love to come and visit your house too. (But, well …. I’m just a bear. Would you like to help me? I would really enjoy spending a week or two at your house and play with you?) It would be wonderful to meet other boys and girls that have Cochlear implants. I think we would have a lot to talk about.

Christi Bearowitz

Hello my name is Christi Bearowitz and I was born with severe to profound hearing loss. I failed the newborn infant hearing screening when I was born but my parents were not worried right away because they were told that it could be fluid in my ears that would go away. I went through several hearing tests and finally when I was 4 weeks old, a diagnostic ABR (Auditory Brainstem Response) test confirmed that I had severe to profound hearing loss in both ears.

I received hearing aids when I was 12 weeks old and began Auditory-Verbal Therapy at that time. Because I did not make enough progress with my hearing aids with language development, my parents pursued a cochlear implant for me. With my hearing aids, I could hear sounds but the sound was not clear enough for me to develop speech. I was only verbalizing one sound after wearing my hearing aids for nearly 7 months. I had surgery when I was 10 months old and received my first cochlear implant. My cochlear implant was turned on/activated when I was 11 months old. I continued to do Auditory-Verbal Therapy with my Auditory Verbal Therapist and my parents. I said my first word “uh oh” when I was 15 months old. My language was caught up with my typically/normally hearing peers when I was 2 years old. I began preschool at age 3 years at a mainstream preschool with ongoing Auditory-Verbal Therapy sessions from an Itinerant Teacher until I was 4 years old. In the midst of all of that, I received a second (bilateral) cochlear implant when I was 2 1/2 years old. Having two cochlear implants helps me to hear better in noise and that is so important! I have done very well at school and it is probably because I have bilateral cochlear implants which definitely help me hear better overall.

I see my audiologists pretty often with appointments about every 3-6 months, to make sure that my CI programs/maps are right for me. I like seeing my audiologists, Auditory-Verbal therapist and cochlear implant surgeon because they are all so nice to me and have helped me so much! They always are patient with me and make my appointments fun with cool listening games.

I love hearing with my cochlear implants because they help me hear clear sound. I recently told my mom and dad thank you for saying no to sign language and letting me learn to listen and talk. I said this because I love hearing and talking! I like to talk with my friends and family and I like listening to music. I am in elementary school and I love school! I also take ballet and tap dance classes and I love dancing and music! I also sing in my church choir. I am doing very well in school and because I have bilateral cochlear implants, I am hearing pretty well and have not used an FM system yet.

I love ballet and tap and talking and playing with friends. I love to read! I also like writing stories and letters. I like swimming and bike riding. My favorite color is light blue. I like making new friends! I would love to come and play with you and hear your story about your cochlear implants!

************************************Thank you Natalie and Dave Skergan for donating their daughter’s story for Christi’s story**********************************

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