Robert Wood Johnson
ith a sweet, engaging smile, 2-year-old Annabella Macias
works diligently on the tasks of toddlerhood, pointing to col-
ors as her mother names them, imitating animal sounds, and dancing to
the beat of music from the radio.
Like most new moms, Maryann Florio eagerly awaits each new milestone
in her daughter's young life. But for Florio, every hard-won achievement is all
the more precious: a little more than a year ago, she learned that Annabella
had profound hearing loss and was not responding to any sounds, let alone
trying to repeat them. Over a period of weeks this summer, however, Florio
saw her daughter making huge strides in her language development.
"I almost cried when I said, `Annabella,' and she turned around to look at
me. It's amazing. One day, your child isn't hearing any sounds, and the next,
there are so many possibilities," Florio says.
The dramatic transformation is the result of surgical devices known as
cochlear implants, which simulate hearing in individuals who have little to no
hearing, and the work of the comprehensive Pediatric Cochlear Implant Team
at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and The Bristol-Myers Squibb
Children's Hospital at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.
Led by pediatric otolaryngologists Michael Chee, MD, and Kelvin M.
Kwong, MD, both assistant professors of surgery, Robert Wood Johnson
Medical School, the highly specialized, multidisciplinary Pediatric Cochlear
Implant Team also includes audiologists, speech/language pathologists, neu-
ropsychologists, and a nurse coordinator and is one of the most comprehen-
sive programs of its kind in the tri-state region. Established in early 2014, it
How Our Cochlear Implant Team Is
Making a Difference in Children's Lives
T H E
B e t h - A n n
K e r b e r
cried when I
and she turned
around to look at me.
It's amazing," says
of the care that
received from the
"One day, your child
isn't hearing any
sounds, and the next,
there are so many