I am incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to mentor and be a resource for families who have recently diagnosed deaf children. Although it was almost 4 years ago that we learned that Christian had a severe/profound hearing loss, I still remember exactly how I felt that day in October when our audiologist told us that he was deaf. I still can feel my heart break. I think the emotions will always be raw in some way or another. Being able to comfort families with newly diagnosed children is part of my healing. Sometimes I still need to cry, and I grieve right along with those families. I was lucky to have a wonderful support group during my early days, and I feel compelled to pay it forward. My group of CI Mommas got me through (and still get me through!) the hard days and cheer with me on the best days.
The question I get the most often from families going through the candidacy process is which Cochlear Implant brand to choose. I hate this question. There is so MUCH information available on the internet that can quite frankly scare the living daylights out of families who are new to the world of CIs. Charts and graphs that compare soft failures, hard failures, and numbers of electrodes are all over the web. It's terrifying. I mean, what the heck is a soft failure vs. a hard failure?
As parents, we generally get no help from the implant center. So you are left looking around and stumbling upon gruesome explant pictures from CIs gone bad. You start making a graph of your own, and all you want to do is just pick the RIGHT one.
The problem with all of this, is there is NO right company. Every family has different needs, different goals, and different ideas of what will work for them. It's no secret that our family is a Cochlear Corporation family. I am a parent advocate and mentor for the company, and I stand behind them 100%. Cochlear works for us. The results we've seen from Christian using Cochlear are just amazing. With that being said, I see kids everyday at Christian's school who use the other two companies and are doing just as well. It doesn't matter which brand you choose for your child. However, it DOES matter what you do with your child once he's been activated.
I always say that if I knew then what I know know, I wouldn't have spent hours and hours researching brands. I would've spent those hours getting experience books together. I would've saved that energy for post-activation, using it to make every moment a language and listening opportunity. I wouldn't have cried wondering if we made the right choice, because no matter what, Christian would be fine because we were committed to cultivating his language and listening skills.