Children Learning Early How to Hear & Speak with Implant
Marcus and Shari Armstrong knew the moment their son, Brodie, was born that he faced challenges ahead. Brodie was born without a left ear. Not surprisingly, he failed his newborn hearing screening test and needed an ABR, or auditory brainstem response test. After testing, doctors determined Brodie had microtia, an incomplete formation of the outer ear and severe mixed hearing loss. His doctors suggested Brodie be fitted with a Baha hearing aid. The Baha is a surgically implantable system for treatment of hearing loss that works through direct bone conduction. He was also fitted for the soft Baha band that holds the hearing aid in place.
Brodie was just three months old the first time he put on his BAHA band & aid, and it was not an easy process. It’s hard enough to get a baby to put a hat on, much less a band that has to stay in one place all the time. It was also hard on Marcus and Shari when people would stare at Brodie in the stroller or infant carrier when they went out. But, they were determined that Brodie have the same opportunities and experiences that all little boys have. As tough as it was, they made it a priority for Brodie to wear the band as long as he was awake.
The Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) program at the Rehab Center has been involved with Brodie and his family since he was 5 months old. ECI partnered with the Regional Day School for the Deaf and began working on Brodie’s listening skills, to make sure he was hearing the sounds that he needed to hear in order to be able to speak. This team approach over the next two years took Brodie from turning to the sound of rustling paper, to signing and now, speaking. Now that he’s talking, Brodie is working with a speech therapist that focuses on his ability to say all the words he wants to say clearly and with the correct articulation. Brodie also has an Early Intervention Specialist that works with the hearing teacher at his school to focus on listening skills and vocabulary.
With his 3rd birthday approaching, Brodie’s time in the ECI program is drawing to a close. But, thanks to the support from ECI along with the determination of his parents, Brodie has a head start to a bright future.