Thursday, July 2, 2009

Second CI for Amanda??

Today we had an appointment with Amanda's CI surgeon to discuss the possibility for a second implant. It took us an hour to drive to LA and three hours to drive home and the bottom line is that today was a bit of a disappointment.

Amanda has wanted a second CI before she even got her first one a year ago this month. There was only a brief period of time during her recovery period and before activation that she had to think twice about going through it again. But that quickly subsided and she was right back wanting the second CI again.

In our meeting with her ENT today, he was unconvinced that a second CI would benefit her speech production, which he said was the reason second implantations are performed.

We had brought documentation from her school audiologist and speech pathologist (who have both known Amanda since she started at the school at age 3 and was a student in my class) showing that she had made considerable progress in the areas of speech and listening since her CI.

Nothing about Amanda has ever followed a typical pattern. And even though she only has three electrodes active, has facial stimulation if she turns the volume past 11:00 and can't hear her own voice...Amanda is thrilled with her cochlear implant. It has made a huge difference in her life.

She now watches television with the volume on, has favorite songs on her iPod (she especially likes drums), she can hear people talk, buzzers, bells, helicopters, traffic, her dog, Goldy's dog tags, dogs barking and many other environmental sounds although she can't always localize them.

In addition to her increasing ability to hear and identify environmental sounds, she has made tremendous gains in closed set speech detection, identification, discrimination and comprehension. And her speech production when combined with visual cues has improved as well. If something is written, she can read it with a fair amount of intelligibility and combining auditory with visual cues (lipreading & visual phonics) she can correct her speech production errors.

We believe Amanda deserves a chance to see if with a second implant she can have more electrodes active, be able to hear low frequency sounds, hear her own voice, and experience less facial stim. This will increase the chances that she will be able to make even more progress with her speech and listening abilities and pick up other environmental sounds.

The plan right now is for his audiologists to do a series of tests before he decides to do the second surgery. We will be contacted for an appointment and go from there.

If anyone has any wise words of wisdom we'd be happy to hear them.