On October 24th, we went on a family outing to Advanced Bionics in Sylmar, California which is about an hour away from our home.
Amanda had been wanting to tour the plant where they made her cochlear implant ever since seeing photos a fellow blogger, Jennifer (Sweetpea) posted on her blog. stereophonicbionic.blogspot.com. Sweetpea had toured the AB plant in June of 2008 and posted some great pictures and described them in detail.
Above is the spot in her blog where Sweetpea posted the photos. If I knew how to link it by naming it, I would. But at this point I don't. You can still get there from here. Copy and paste and then look at June 27th and June 29th.
Everyone at Advanced Bionics was very gracious and we enjoyed our tour immensely! They reserved an accessible parking spot so that we could park close and Amanda's brother, Joseph could get out of the van with his wheelchair with ease.
They also hired an interpreter for Amanda who was very efficient and it was a good experience for her to have someone other than her stepmother interpret for her. Plus it freed me up to take photographs. They didn't come out great however, which is another reason to check out the photos on Sweetpea's blog.
Of the five photos I posted above:
#1 is of Amanda and me at the AB sign just outside the front door.
#2 is (from left to right) our interpreter, tour guide, Amanda, her brother, Joseph and her dad, Gonzálo.
#3 is of spooky hands getting ready to attack Amanda
#4 is of workers in a sterile environment putting components into the cochlear implants
#5 is what looks to be an older section of Advanced Bionics. We didn't actually go into that building but saw it as we were leaving. When I went to take a photo, a man wearing an AB name tag came out, so it is apparently still being used for something related to AB.
The only thing I had hoped to see but didn't was a whole stack of cochlear implants ready to put into boxes. We did, however see the boxes ready for shipping, but it wasn't the same.
Probably what impressed me the most was how incredibly fine the electrodes were that go into the array. They looked as fine as a spider web. I took a picture but they were so fine that I couldn't even find it in the photo.
If you are interested in where and how Advanced Bionics cochlear implants are made, I highly recommend the tour!