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What exactly did the surgery do? Did it fix his deafness? What does "activated" mean?

Alexander will always be deaf. The implant is more like a powerful hearing aid, although it is very different from a hearing aid. Instead of simply amplifying sound, it creates signals that the brain interprets as sound, making it ideal for people who have little or no hearing. Cochlear implants use a device called an external speech processor, worn outside the ear, to capture sound and convert the sound into digital signals. Those signals are then sent to a surgically implanted electronic receiver inside the head, which tells the implant to stimulate the electrodes inside the cochlea (inner ear). The brain then recognizes these signals as sound. Those that are qualified for an implant must have a certain degree of hearing loss (meaning "bad") or hearing aids will not help them communicate in society. The surgery does not 'fix' his hearing. Normal hearing is about 10-20 decibels.
With the implanted ear he will hear about 20-30 decibels. With his hearing aid ear he will hear between 30-50 decibels. So he is missing a lot with his hearing aid ear, but he is getting enough useful acoustic information with his hearing aid that it is worth keeping it untouched (no implant in the left ear).

The “bionic ear", as we call it, has an inner device that has to be surgically implanted.

He cannot hear with just that, he has to attach the outer device-also called the processor (it is a magnet that attaches to the magnet on the inner device) in order to receive sound.

So at night when he will take his bionic ear off (the processor), he will not be able to hear anything.

"Activated" basically means "turned on" or "hooked up". Alexander's activation date is January 16th, so he is not getting any sound yet in his right ear. We will have to leave his hearing aid off for a few months while he gets used to the new bionic sounds.

Only days left until he will be able to hear noise loud and clear!


DeeDee said...

Hi Monica! I am glad you found my blog and now I can see yours! Your family is so adorable. What a struggle you must be going through... but he sure seems to be a precious little guy! You will all be in my thoughts! Take care!

Emily said...

I can relate to your feelings when you found out Alexander couldn't hear. They couldn't get a positive reading on one of my daughter's ears the first day so we spent the whole night worrying that she wouldn't be able to hear. They got it retested the next morning and it was fine but it really brought the important things into focus! The Resurrection means all that more now! I am glad you have such a positive attitude! He is an adorable little boy!

Melinda said...

Yippee!!! he will love it! my friends little girl that has 2 implants loves that when she is sleepy or it gets too loud she takes her 'ears' off and is in peace :)

Lucas'Mommy said...

Good luck with activation in a few days! Lucas was activated yesterday and it was simply amazing to watch him react to sound for the first time. What a journey this will be!

Miss Kat's Parents said...

While I would agree that CI's don't "fix" deafness, I would disagree that they can't hear at "normal" levels. Miss Kat hears at 15 db! That is "normal"!