Tag Archives: cochlear implant activation

Activation Day! (Round 2)

Today was Fiona’s activation day for her second (left) ear. While the day had only a fraction of the fanfare of her original activation day, it’s still an important milestone as she now begins her life with full stereoscopic sound.

Eliza had a great post on this a few weeks ago with Two Ears are Better then One, but the net of all this is the benefits are far greater then just redundancy of hearing. Two functional ears are critical for localization of sound, something we take for granted in our day to day life. In addition, the overall quality of the sound is greatly improved by having both ears working in concert.

The procedure ran very similar to the original activation day, with the first hour spent mapping the new processor frequencies, and then the second hour testing her reception of sound. The procedure was complicated somewhat further by the fact that we had to turn on and off her existing processor to make sure she was picking up sound properly from the new ear.

As you can see here, the new setup has more wires to tangle up, which is something we’ll need to get acclimated to.

Two processors

Two processors

Umm, toy pie!

Umm, toy pie!


We’ve also switched to the Advanced Bionics Naida processor on both ears, which you can see clipped to the back of her shirt in the above picture. These processors are actually designed to be worn over the ear (hence the ear-like shape), but Fiona is too young to wear them in that configuration right now. Instead, clipping to the shirt is far more manageable until she’s old enough to manage the processors on the ear herself.

We also have lots of new Advanced Bionics gear to go with these processors, as you can see decked out below.

Fiona1 (3)

We’re facing a new challenge with the amount of exposed wiring, and Fiona loves to tug the ear pieces off her head. Eliza is on the case, though, already designing elaborate headbands and shirt tucking contraptions. I think she may have a career ahead of her in CI clothing!

Anyway, we did shoot some video today. At the start we didn’t get much of a response, but towards the end we were starting to see some glimmers. This is not unlike her first ear, though, where we saw the biggest improvements in the weeks following her activation.

This video starts near the end of the activation process when we started seeing some glimmers. What’s really interesting, though, is when her right (original) processor is turned back on around the 3:33 mark – Fiona has a clear reaction and almost instantly starts humming. She’s normally a very vocal girl, but was dead quiet during most of the left ear activation. When the right was turned back on, it was almost like flipping a hearing switch. Pretty telling, and surely a sign to come for her left ear down the road.

And finally, here are some more pics that have nothing to do with the activation, but are just so darn cute because it’s my daughter, enjoy 🙂

Learning to program

Learning to code just like Dad…

The most flexible you'll ever be Fiona, enjoy it now!

The most flexible you’ll ever be Fiona, enjoy it now!




Activation Day!

Exciting Day!

First things first, here’s the video. Go ahead and watch it now!

Direct link here.

The original content was ~20 minutes with a lot of down time of me making stupid jokes about hot dogs and zombie babies. I spared you the agony and distilled down to 5 minutes of highlights. If there’s interest in the full video I can post later – and of course who can resist a director’s cut with more Mark.?.?

Okay, on to the reactions. I’ll let you make you form your own opinions. On my side, I’d characterize them mostly in the “subdued” camp. No laughing, but no crying either. What did you think?

As our audiologist Lauren explains in the video, today should be considered Fiona’s “sound birthday”. This is all very new to her and it will take time for her to recognize what she’s hearing. Remember, she’s only 10 1/2 months old!

Still, in some of the shots you can see a very clear reaction which is pretty exciting. If you’re curious, look back to the video of her first hearing aids to compare reactions. It’s a weird time warp in such a short amount of time (just 9 months!).

Now, on to how the day went. The first hour was spent “mapping” her new implant. Basically they hook a laptop up to her processor and program different “levels” of stimulation that we can utilize as her development needs proceed.

fiona_activation 074

Cyborg Baby!

The programs are not as simple as a volume control, but instead are tailored to specific amplification of specific frequencies in a manner best suited to the individual’s needs. Fiona’s implant has 3 program levels that we’ll be switching through as her tolerance to sound increases. We also will have weekly “mapping” appointments with the audiologist for the next several weeks to continue modifying and increasing those levels.

During that time we kept Fiona distracted by feeding her breakfast – and who wouldn’t be distracted by a piece of yummy white bread!

fiona_activation 072

After the mapping was complete, the full family was invited in to watch her first reactions to sound. The support was incredible and touching, especially since everyone took a half day off from work to come out! Rosemary, Justin, Stephanie, Shyler, Bruce and Penny – you guys rock!

The Paparazzi!

The Paparazzi!

We tested Fiona’s implant for about 30 minutes, then packed up all our “loot” to bring home. Lots of toys to play with, Fiona says they all taste delicious. I’ll post more on those later.

New Toys!

New Toys!

Now we’re back and learning to work with Fiona with her new sense of hearing. We have our work cut out for us, but it doesn’t get more rewarding than this!


Tomorrow we return to our Auditory Verbal therapist for our first post-implant session. We’re looking forward to diving in.

It’s amazing such opportunities are available to children at such a young age. The adventure continues, stay tuned…

1 Week to Activation!

Fiona’s recovery continues to go well. Really well. In fact, the first day back from the hospital she was already crawling around the house like nothing happened.

Her spirits remain high and she’s in a super-cute inquisitive stage of late. She’s also crawling EVERYWHERE. Here’s a picture from just a few minutes ago.

This is MY kitchen!

This is MY kitchen!

Activation is still on track for next Thursday. Oh boy are we looking forward to it.

To get everyone in the mood, here’s a short activation video from “Ava” from last year. Not sure how old Ava is, but he looks pretty young!

Direct link.

7 days to go!

We Have an Activation Date!

Fiona’s first CI Implant surgery is just over a month away on March 7th. While we still have a few hurdles to overcome (including formal approval by insurance…), we did reach a new milestone today: Fiona’s activation date is now set for Thursday, March 20th!

As you may recall from prior posts, the surgery on March 7th will implant the Cochlear Implant lead into one of her ears, but the processor will not be turned on until she has a chance to heal. The March 20th date is that magic date when the audiologist turns on the implant for the first time, and Fiona will hear sound for the first time in her life.

Needless to say this will be a very exciting day, and we will be recording and sharing her reaction on this blog. We’ve learned to set expectations appropriately, though: with infants the reaction to activation can range anywhere from joy to fear to nothing at all. While it’d be cool to witness the next youtube sensation, we’ll be satisfied no matter what we see.

After March 20th, her other ear will be implanted at a later date, and we’ll repeat the same activation process again. Lots of excitement coming!

Baby Goat!

Baby Goat!