ment, and rehabilitation services related to cochlear
implants. By the end of the program's first year, the team
from 13 months to 5 years old.
never imagined her daughter would need these types
screening with no indications of any issues. But just three
months later, Florio was noticing that there might be a
would be no reaction," Florio recalls. "When I brought her
to the pediatrician for her 4-month-old check-up, they did
another hearing test, but they got no reading off of it."
which measures the way the hearing nerve responds to dif-
ferent sounds--confirmed that Annabella had sensorineur-
al hearing loss.
whether due to missing or damaged hair cells, or damage to
the nerve pathway itself. A cochlear implant bypasses the
process, transmitting sound from an external speech
processor and transmitter to an internal receiver that gen-
erates electrical pulses directly to the auditory nerve itself.
early intervention program for deaf and hard-of-
Pediatric Cochlear Implant Team to Florio, prompting her to
do some in-depth online research about the team and cochlear
implants in general. What she discovered had her reaching
in 26--a protein found on the GJB2 gene that disrupts
congenital sensorineural hearing loss.
it was activated a month later; the remaining device was
it was like a switch was flipped and everything started to go
really quickly," Florio says. "She's trying to say her ABCs,
she knows about eight different colors and the noises of dif-
ferent animals--says `ooo' for `moo'--and has really start-
ed catching up a lot quicker than what was expected. It's
wonderful. She's babbling, making noises, and starting to
sing. She knows the difference between when people are
speaking and when they are singing. Every time she hears
music, she stands up and dances."
Annabella is involved in classes and therapy four days a
twice-weekly classes where she interacts with other children
who have hearing loss. She sees a member of the cochlear
implant team every few weeks for "mapping," or adjustments
to the sound programming of the device. Once mapping on
both sides is complete, Annabella will return annually for any
necessary tweaks to the programming, Florio says.
procedure and then you're done," he adds. "The process is
very labor-intensive after the surgery, and a committed
team is needed to help lay the groundwork for success."
nately there is a lot of support from the team. They are not
in it alone," he says.
Department of Pediatrics work with the program to help
families understand the developmental and cognitive poten-
tial of their young child, consider potential obstacles, and
help them cope with the stresses and anxieties associated
with the procedure. After surgery, they also are available to
assist as children learn to understand new sounds and
adjust to life with their implant.