Letter To My Son The Night Before Cochlear Implant Activation

As I sit here writing this, you are fast asleep in your crib. I am thinking about how when you were one day old you failed your newborn hearing screen in your left ear, we were so scared and thought maybe it was because you were born 5 weeks early, or perhaps there was still fluid in your ears. Then you failed the next test at a month old, this was when we knew it was probably real. We did a hearing aid trial, you looked damn cute, but it wasn’t amplifying sound. You were so adorable in the sound booth, session after session, and still nothing coming into that left ear. 

Then you had a MRI which confirmed your hearing loss, first diagnosed with ANSD then SSD (single sided deafness). We then battled insurance for a year to approve your cochlear implant surgery for your single sided deafness in your left ear. We started speech therapy at 5 months and working with a team through Dell Children’s Hospital and Austin Independent School District to do everything we could to help you. It has been an interesting time to be in speech therapy during a pandemic, wrangling a baby then toddler to a computer screen or in person with masks over the last year.

Finally after insurance told us to give up and take a break from trying to get your cochlear surgery approved, when the doctors office had submitted their third appeal to the insurance company, after two peer-to-peer reviews, our luck changed and your surgery was approved. For two weeks from the approval date! We were so excited! Your surgery day came quickly. You were so brave. Three hours under anesthesia, a lot of tears from Mama, and the surgery was over and a great success. We had a few rocky recovery days with all the drugs, but you were soon your happy, smiley, and playful fun-loving, dancing self. 

Today you started school, a two hour program through AISD school for the deaf, we hope you blossom in there. Tomorrow you will hear sounds in your left ear for the first time, it’s your activation day. I am so excited for you. I hope we are doing the right thing for you and I trust that we are. We know it will take some time for sound to sound “normal”, your new normal. But at just under two years old, your brain is like a sponge and we’re told it will adapt quickly and help your day to day. We also hope it gives you the confidence to speak and develop your language. We love reading your mind and understand you, but we look forward to hearing your voice more often. 

I can’t wait to watch you listen a live band for the first time. I look forward to elevating our dance parties with your new surround sound. I am excited to call your name and have you know where I am in the room when you turn to me. I am so excited to share this hearing journey with you, every step of the way. I love you and I am so proud of you. Here’s to new sound beginnings my sweet boy. 


Your Mom

by Kelly Buller