So nervous (and anxious) for this day. On August 16th Jackson had his Cochlear Implant (CI) activation at UZA. Meaning the internal part of the CI that was inserted during surgery a month earlier would now be connected to the external parts, allowing Jackson to experience sound for the very frist time. Imagine living your life (even if it only has been 10 months) in utter silence and then all of a sudden there is sound. Children begin to hear 20 weeks before they are even born, so before a baby takes his first breath, his brain has already had twenty weeks to organize around the sense of sound. Needless to say, Jackson would need time to adjust.

Every child reacts differently to this activation and hearing sound for the first time. Some children have no reaction at all, others cry, others laugh. We did not know what to expect, I just hoped to see some sort of reaction.

I’ve put together some fragments of what we filmed during that session. Couple of things you should know:

  • the audiologist starts the activation with beeps on different frequencies
  • every time she sees Jackson respond to a beep she flashes a light
  • this is a stimulus for Jackson to respond to sound, like a reward because he showed us he listened
  • once all the frequencies were tested the audiologist turns all channels open so Jackson now hears all
  • still on a very low volume of course, this will be turned up over time
  • Jackson puts everything (e v e r y t h i n g) in his mouth

We were so proud of Jackson! He responded so well, it was more than what we had hoped for. He was really impressed by what was happening, at times he looked at the verge of crying but then he would reach out for his parents and it would be allright. The unconditional faith that he has in us is so heartwarming.

The audiologist was really happy with these first results as well. She programmed the CI for the next 2 weeks (it’s called mapping), and every other day we would have to change the program, gradually increasing the volume. Allowing Jacksons auditory brain to grow. She advised us to have the CI on as much as possible, easier said than done with a (very active) 10 month old baby. She already warned us that we would have to pop that processor right back on to his head countless times a day.

Jackson has been wearing his CI for a couple of days now and seems his usual self. I am glad he doesn’t remove the processor himself, it doesn’t seem to bother him. He also seems to be happy when we turn it on in the morning. It does wear him out, but we expected that, all these new impulses must be so tiring.

All of his caretakers responded very well to Jacksons CI and feel comfortable with it. Or like his 9 year old niece put it when she found out the processor works like a magnet that you can pop right back on to his head: “that is sooo cool!”.