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zakoka

About Me

I am the adopted mother and biological grandmother of a boy who was born with profound bilateral sensorineural hearing loss. He is the first deaf person in our family, so we had no experience or knowledge of the non-hearing world. Since his diagnosis, we have been on our own adventurous journey of discovery and education. We decided early on to learn ASL to be able to communicate with him. He went through many tests to determine the options available to him. We decided to try cochlear implants, because it could not worsen his hearing but could improve it. We have never regretted out decision and are in awe of the technology every day! My son is now 3 1/2 years old. He attends a preschool for children with hearing loss four days per week, where he is thriving. We continue to use some ASL and intend to learn more after his speech is at an age appropriate level.

About

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zakoka
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Mentor Information

My favorite thing about my AB Cochlear implant is
The music! Steven loves music! You will rarely spend a few moments with him without enjoying his song. I cannot hear through his CIs, but I know he is receiving crisp, clear sound. He picks up a song after just a few times, and he can sing on pitch! I love so many things about AB, but the sound quality is our favorite.
With my AB cochlear implant, I can
do and hear anything! Steven sings, plays with others, hears the birds singing, and so many other things! Before his implants, he was very happy but missed out on other children playing, because he was unaware due to the lack of sound. Now he misses nothing! As a mom, my favorite thing is the ability to alert Steven of danger. He is a quick 3 year old! I cannot always catch him before he is in a sticky situation.
My favorite sound is
music! Steven loves all sounds. He loves music, sirens, planes, birds, and his Papa's voice. With every new sound, Steven is in awe. However, his favorite remains music. He can watch music videos and musicals all day if I let him. He loves playing his little guitar with his Papa.
I chose AB because
First, I chose AB because of the customer service. I love everyone with whom I have spoken. I never worry, because there is always someone there to help. I called every company, as suggested by our audiologist, and AB was outstanding! We were leaning towards AB prior to the calls due to the noise filtering. I have always heard hearing aids are annoying in noisy places. Kids love places with a lot of noise. We watched an AB advertisement where a person was able to hear in a convertible while driving with the top down. We thought if this is true, we need to choose this company. So far, this is true! Steven can hear me in the worst noise conditions.
I am a BEA Mentor because
AB and Steven changed my life! They opened up a new world. When we received Steven's confirmed diagnosis, we were terrified and lost. Coming from a hearing family, we had no experience with hearing loss. We decided to embrace it and make the best life for our son. We had a wonderful support system in our state, but we were lost when it came to cochlear implants and other options for his future. We read and studied, but we knew no one who could give us life experience. I want to be a source of comfort and knowledge to other families. I now have some experience and want to share with others. This can be a scary process. It is a life changing decision. There cannot be too many resources for families going through similar experiences.
I can help cochlear implant candidates by
I can share our experience. We did not speak with any CI families until after Steven was implanted. Having others who have been through the process would have been so valuable. Once implanted, the equipment and information can be overwhelming. The waiting can be discouraging. We need to hear others' experiences to stay focused and positive.