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      Hannah Kay was born on June 25, 2004. She is our third daughter and full of life  and spunk. On her second day of life, she failed the newborn hearing screening  at the hospital. We had just put hearing aids on Belle, but it had never  occurred to me that our baby might not be able to hear. A few weeks later, the  test was repeated, and we realized there might really be a problem. Her ABR  showed an even greater loss of hearing than Belle had - a moderately severe to  profound loss. I was devastated.

      The positive part of finding all of this out was she was so young. At four  months of age, she received her hearing aids and immediately began to respond.  She loved hearing and began babbling after a few weeks. It was hard to nurse her  with her hearing aids on. When her ear rested against me, we heard that horrible  feedback sound.
      She began to pull them out a few weeks later when she realized that she could.  It was a constant battle to put them back in. I knew it was important that she  be able to hear during all of her waking hours, so I would put the hearing aids  back in every time she took them out. By the time she was ten months old, she  had stopped bothering her hearing aids and was beginning to talk.

      Hannah attended  Auditory Verbal Therapy sessions at the Auditory Verbal Center of Atlanta once a  month. We were already implementing the program at home with Belle, so we would  use the same strategies with Hannah and check in with our therapist, Mary Ann  Costin, to make sure she was on track. Hannah has never had a language delay.
     At her initial evaluation when she was 8 months old, she was within normal  limits for receptive and expressive language. At her evaluation one year later,  she was ahead of her chronological age for language development. At 20 months  old, Hannah’s receptive language was measured at 20 months, and her expressive  language was measured at 26 months! We couldn’t believe how well she was doing.  She graduated the program in April 2006. Hannah is the youngest graduate of the  Auditory Verbal Center of Atlanta!

      In January 2007, at a routine audiology checkup, we found out that Hannah’s hearing had gotten much worse. She was in the severe to profound range across the audiogram. This new information was hard to hear, but it made complete sense to me. Hannah’s articulation had been becoming muddy for a couple of months, and I was worried that I wasn’t doing enough language therapy with her. We immediately made an appointment with Dr. Todd and scheduled a follow-up hearing test to make sure the results were valid. Dr. Todd agreed with us that she was not hearing well enough with her hearing aids to hear all of the speech sounds. His opinion was that she would be very successful with the cochlear implant.
      Just the year before, Belle had received her implant, so the process was fresh in our minds. We began making the necessary appointments and preparations. Her surgery was scheduled for March 27th, 2007.
      She completely understood what was going on because she knew Belle went to the hospital to have implant surgery and get her “processor”. She was so excited to be “like Belle” and the preparation process went very positively for us. She handled surgery and hospitalization very well, and her recovery time was even quicker than we had remembered with Belle. The three weeks until her initial stimulation flew by, and we couldn’t believe the day had come. Hannah looked around when her implant audiologist, Vicki Wauchope, turned her on for the first time and then returned to playing with the toys in front of her. Vicki slowly turned up the volume with little reaction from Hannah. I was so thankful that she didn’t cry or seem scared. When the program was set, Vicki asked Hannah to repeat some sounds, and she did! She even repeated her name, which made me start to cry. She continued to progress quickly, and every week Hannah got updated programs to ramp her up to maximum hearing. Now at almost 4 months post-activation, Hannah understands everything that she previously understood and is adding new vocabulary daily. She has begun to add “s”, “sh”, “t”, “p”, and “ch” to her spontaneous language. I am amazed at this technology and what it has given Hannah. She is thriving with her implant and wonders why everyone else doesn’t have one, it’s so great! What a miracle we are witnessing.

     We continue to monitor Hannah’s hearing every few months and continue to use  Auditory Verbal Therapy strategies with her at home. We are so thankful that she  is doing so well.