|Rachel with her sound processor and head piece on|
First of all I would like to explain what it is Rachel wears (as pictured above). Back in September Rachel had the surgery where they put in the inside part of the cochlear implant. There is an electrode in her cochlea along with a magnet that is underneath her skin in her head. The outside part (as seen above) consists of a sound processor (clipped to her shirt) and the head piece (round piece) that connects with the magnet under her skin. The sound processor enables sound to enter. That sound then travels through the head piece to the electrode in her cochlea where it stimulates the auditory nerve and enables her to hear. She has a bionic ear! What wonderful technology! I'm so grateful for it!
Since Rachel's implant has been turned on, she has been going to the Center for Hearing and Speech for speech therapy and having her cochlear implant adjusted (mapping). Overall Rachel is doing well with the implant. She wears it ok (surprisingly), but the head piece (as seen above) falls off easily since Rachel is so active. It stays on her head with only 3 small magnets. It would stay on better with more magnets, but its not recommended to have more because it can cause a pressure sore on her head where the magnets connect. So we just put it back on her head frequently. As for how she is hearing, well the implant is working and she can hear, but Rachel is still not fully recognizing sound. Its going to take a lot of therapy and time for her to learn to recognize sound and to know what to do with the sounds she hears. Her therapist at the Center for Hearing is able to get Rachel to turn her head (show a response) to the sound of a toy that makes noise and to some verbal sounds which is good and her therapist is happy with where she is at after only 3 months with the implant on. Rachel's teacher has heard Rachel make some new sounds so this is good as well. Rachel does want to communicate and she does get frustrated when she can't effectively. We still use sign language and Rachel has learned more signs, but communication is still difficult. I do hope and pray that she will continue to learn how to use sounds and to be able to use it to communicate better. One day she will talk, but it will take time and patience. I'm just so grateful that Rachel is no longer living in silence. She is able to hear! That is a wonderful blessing from above.