Connect with David
- Lives in: Berkshire
- Deafness cause: Connexion 26 (two children)
- Systems used: Bilateral Nucleus Freedom (Lydia), Bilateral Nucleus 6 (Isaac)
We have three wonderful children, Lydia, Caleb and Isaac. Lydia and Isaac are both profoundly deaf as a result of the genetic mutation Connexin 26.
Lydia’s hearing impairment was a total shock to us when it was picked up at her new born hearing test and we were devastated. All we could think about at that time was what she wouldn’t be able to do in life.
At the age of 12 weeks, Lydia was given hearing aids, but it was clear from the beginning that they would be no good, so we put all our hope into her being suitable for a cochlear implant. Whilst some people have dilemmas about cochlear implants, we never had any doubts as we believed it was the best chance we had of giving Lydia the opportunity to be part of our hearing world.
At the age of 14 months Lydia was implanted and it took us eight tuning appointments and a lot of time to see any results. Just as we were feeling rather despondent, a musical card arrived in the post and when we opened it, we knew she’d heard it. From then on, Lydia’s hearing has gone from strength to strength and she was delighted when she got a second implant. In her very own young words,
“Two ears are better than one!”
Lydia is now in mainstream school and is on the ‘Gifted and Talented’ register for her literacy and numeracy. She recently won an award in class assembly for her presentation skills. She’s also taken part in swimming classes and in an after-school multi-sports club and now she goes to Rainbows. We never dreamt that she’d achieve so much. When her head isn’t stuck in a book, she’s always busy chatting with her brothers and to any adult willing to listen!
Isaac was implanted four years after his sister at the age of 11 months with bilateral Nucleus 5’s. The hardest part for us was waiting for him to be implanted as we felt every month waiting was wasted time for his progress. Isaac loved sound from the beginning and was very quick to distinguish music. His speech is coming on all the time and he copies what we say.
For me it’s the technology behind the implants that’s so incredible and has made a big difference to all our lives. I’m really inspired by the Nucleus 5 as its small size has meant that Isaac had the behind the ear option straight away and he is even able to keep his processors on in the bath.
As a family we moved from one implant to four implants in just one year and I can’t say it wasn’t a challenge! Everything we do still involves pointing out sounds, repeating words and copying sentences. And, there are certainly days when it all seems too much but it has also made us appreciate life too in a special way. My wife Elizabeth is very dedicated to helping all three of our children develop and grow as individuals.
Coping with deafness and choosing options for the future can be a difficult and emotional time for families. We’ve benefitted enormously from cochlear implant technology as the implants have made so much possible for our children. We want to give hope to others and offer answers to their personal worries by sharing our own experiences.
It hasn’t always been easy but we’ve learnt lots, we’ve seen amazing results so when our friends say ‘you wouldn’t know they are any different from other children’ we know it’s all worth it.