Monday, December 15, 2008


Many of you who read Logan's blog are old friends who don't have any previous knowledge of deafness or cochlear implants. You have all been so great in wanting to understand and ask questions about Logan's journey. I sometimes forget to explain things more in plain terms. A few of you have asked about the surgery (don't worry Jen, you were not the only one :) ). What exactly did the surgery do? Did it fix his deafness? What does "activated" mean? Does he still have to wear the "ear".

Logan will always be deaf. The implant is like a more powerful hearing aid, although it is very different from a hearing aid. Instead of simply amplifying sound, it creates signals that the brain interprets as sound, making it ideal for people who have little or no hearing. Cochlear implants use a device called an external speech processor, worn outside the ear, to capture sound and convert the sound into digital signals. Those signals are then sent to a surgically implanted electronic receiver inside the head, which tells the implant to stimulate the electrodes inside the cochlea (inner ear). The brain then recognizes these signals as sound. Those that are qualified for an implant must have a certain degree of hearing loss (meaning "bad") and not get any use out of a hearing aid. I use to see a person with hearing aids and ask myself, "Why don't they just get that surgery done to 'fix' their hearing." I now know that most that wear the hearing aids, get enough sound from them, so that there is no need for an implant. Logan was one of those people at birth.

Normal hearing is about 10-20 decibels. When he was born, he heard between 30-50 dB, his hearing loss was only mild to moderate (see chart below). He wore hearing aids beginning at 4 1/2 months old. As he got older, his hearing loss became worse and the hearing aids were no longer serving a purpose. At about 2 1/2 years old Logan was considered profoundly deaf, hearing between 90 and 110 dB (depending on the frequency, meaning high pitch sounds vs. low pitch sounds).

The surgery that was recently done gave him a second implant on his left side. He still wears the one on the right. The “ear”-as we call it-- has an inner device that has to be surgically implanted. He cannot hear with just that, he has to attach the outer device-also called the processor (it is a magnet that attaches to the magnet on the inner device) in order to receive sound. So at night when we take his ear off (the processor), he cannot hear anything.

"Activated" basically means "turned on" or "hooked up". Logan's activation date is January 5th, so he is not getting any sound yet in his second ear. When we go to that appt. he will receive the second processor and will begin hearing in "surround sound!" :)

Does that help? Here are some pictures for you to see what the implant looks like.

This is what is implanted inside...This is the speech processor that is seen on the outside...

Hope this helps!


Perry Family said...

That was such a great explanation! Technology these days is miraculous! How wonderful for him to be able to have the implant to help him process sound! Best wishes on a great recovery!

jenandbrody said...

Totally helpful! Thanks for the explanation. It's crazy that they can do things like this today. He is so brave and trusting (kind of makes us realize why need to be more like children).

Patty said...

Thanks for your explanation. It was just perfect! I think you guys are so awesome as parents. Logan is so lucky to have you as mom and dad. I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to met you and learn all the good thinks you radiate to whom is around you (even by blog!). Logan is so brave and happy boy!!

Brandie said...

did he have tubes to start out with??


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