She highlighted how difficult the journey of cochlear activation is for kids and their parents through her own first-hand experience.
Cochlear implants have truly changed the game. It is an electronic device, that aids in enhancing hearing. This device works best for individuals who cannot benefit much from hearing aids due to inner ear damage. According to the Mayo Clinic, "a cochlear implant bypasses damaged portions of the ear to deliver sound signals to the hearing (auditory) nerve." Parents of hearing-impaired children consider it a blessing since they believe it will help their children gain an ability that is very important to function in current society which isn't the most accessible. Oftentimes, they do not anticipate the emotional burden the whole experience could have on their babies. Beth Leipholtz (@beth_and_coop) shined a light on this by sharing her family's first-hand experience to mark the third anniversary of her son's cochlear implant activation.
Parents in their excitement of getting the implant, might not take into consideration how overwhelming the experience might be for a child who has never heard sound before. One day, out of the blue, they are introduced to it. The whole thing becomes difficult for them. Leipholtz shared how her son Cooper's reaction was unlike anything they had expected. She explained how three years ago, when her son heard sound for the first time it terrified him. The moment the implants activated in his ears, he began crying uncontrollably. She wants to prepare parents in the same boat as her about how tiring the process could be. Many parents go in with a lot of hope, only to realize they are setting off on a new, equally challenging journey.
Beth noted how such appointments are always long in duration. She also revealed that it had been a very hot day when they activated her son's implant. All these factors made Cooper more irritated and uncomfortable. Hearing sound for the first time overwhelmed him. It was an unknown entity for him. Beth quickly took him on her lap to console him. She kept on communicating with him as he was having a hard time adjusting to the sound. She did it so that she could normalize the whole process for him and help the doctors understand what was working and what was not working. Moreover, she expected that associating the sound with his mother would help him to become more akin to it.
Though watching the footage is hard even now for Cooper's family, they wanted to share it to increase awareness about how difficult the hearing loss journey is for children and parents. Even though the whole experience of seeing Cooper cry was painful, through the young boy's reaction, the doctor was able to recognize the limits to which they could go. She said, "So that is helpful because now I know that is too much." It indicated that they needed to work together to customize everything so that it was suited to Cooper's needs. Beth ends the video with the message that even though the start might be hard, it is not reflective of what the future holds. She asks people to take on everything with dedication. In her opinion, your empathy, compassion and perseverance will make this road easy to traverse and nothing else.
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The comment section appreciated the mother's attitude throughout the whole experience. @maraboo212 loved the honesty and shared her own experience, commenting: "The first two weeks after my activation as an adult I thought I’d made a huge mistake. Now, every day I am so glad I made that necessary and absolutely correct decision! I’m glad you shared this because as much as those videos are cute, they can set up such false expectations and that can be harmful!" @discovering.dakota was inspired by Cooper and Beth's courage. They wrote: "I love watching your story. You gave me the courage to get my own cochlear implant. Thank you!"
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