Stories about: Boston Children’s Cochlear Implant Program

From silence to songs and silliness: Róisín’s cochlear implant journey

roisin1

When her daughter Róisín started preschool, Margaret Morgan sat in her car, parked just outside of the school building. “I was waiting for someone to call and say, ‘She needs you. She needs you.’”

The call never came. Róisín, now 4, is a social butterfly who loves everything about preschool — from belting out her favorite songs to dancing with her friends.

It isn’t the outcome Margaret imagined when she learned of Róisín’s severe-to-profound hearing loss at age 1.We were terrified, but after months of seeking answers to no avail, we finally felt like we were in safe hands.

“From the time Róisín was very small I knew something wasn’t quite right. She was the best baby; so smiley and so happy, but she wouldn’t always turn toward me when I walked into a room or react in any way to my voice.”

Róisín failed hearing tests at 3 months and 6 months of age in Ireland. “We were told not to worry and were referred to this person and that person. I wasn’t getting a definitive answer, and even though I was encouraged to relax, I was so anxious. I felt my concerns weren’t being addressed, and that I wasn’t being taken seriously,” recalls Margaret.

After several months of frustration, Margaret and her husband Conor decided they needed another opinion.

Read Full Story

Cochlear implants click for Isabelle

Isabella-IVFive-year-old Isabelle Labriola loves sound. She eagerly chats with her twin sister, loves to sing along to holiday songs and enjoys dancing to music. Sounds click with Isabelle, even though enlarged vestibular aqueducts (the tiny canals in the inner ear) resulted in moderate-to-severe hearing loss in her right ear and severe-to-profound hearing loss in her left ear.

Isabelle’s hearing loss was identified at birth, and she was fitted with hearing aids at 6 weeks of age. Cheryl Edwards, AuD, interim director of Diagnostic Audiology in the Department of Otolaryngology and Communication Enhancement at Boston Children’s Hospital, provided testing and hearing aid management every few months. Results of these periodic hearing tests showed the hearing loss was progressing.

By 2 years, Isabelle lost hearing in her left ear to the point where the left hearing aid no longer helped. She managed remarkably well and developed good speech skills with a single hearing aid in the right ear until 4 years of age, says her mother Vicki Labriola.

“We started to see progressive hearing loss in her right ear,” says Vicki. Isabelle’s otolaryngologist, Greg Licameli, MD, director of Boston Children’s Cochlear Implant Program, together with her care team suggested that Vicki and her husband, Jason, consider cochlear implants for Isabelle, because it was likely that she would lose all hearing in the right ear. She would then be deaf in both ears.

Read Full Story