From Florida Hospital - Apopka
Jeslyn Cardona is no stranger to motherly instinct. When her baby daughter, Janelys, stopped responding to her calls, she knew something was wrong.
“Janelys was 8 months old when she began having trouble hearing. She wasn’t talking. I’d call but she wouldn’t look back,” Jeslyn says.
Doctors in Puerto Rico were unable to determine anything wrong and suggested the baby just had a late start developing speech and socializing skills. But Jeslyn was persistent.
Because hearing loss tests weren’t available until age 3 in Puerto Rico, Jeslyn compensated, using hand motions and visual cues to help her baby understand.
At age 3, tests indicated Janelys had severe profound deafness. There were no pediatric specialists on the island, so her family moved to Orlando in search of specialized care. After searching, Jeslyn discovered Joshua Gottschall, MD, pediatric otolaryngologist, at Florida Hospital for Children. Soon afterward, Janelys underwent testing again.
“The next step was to put hearing aids on her and see how her language developed,” says Dr. Gottschall. “For the first time, Janelys knew her name.”
However, the hearing aids did little to improve her hearing loss. If Janelys would have a chance of speaking or hearing, she’d need a cochlear implant.
WHAT IS A COCHLEAR IMPLANT?
The cochlear ear implant is an electronic device inserted into the cochlea itself. There are two pieces to the implant: the processor worn behind the ear, and the implant placed under the skin also behind the ear, which includes a tiny tube of electrodes inserted into the cochlea.
“It’s not like a hearing aid in a traditional sense, because hearing aids just amplify sounds,” Dr. Gottschall says. “This enables people with severe to profound hearing loss to hear by replacing the function of the damaged cochlea.”
The procedure takes just a few hours. To allow time for the ear to heal, the external processor is typically turned on two weeks after surgery. ”
As soon as the implant was turned on, Janelys was instantly happy,” Jeslyn exclaims. “Three days after surgery she went outside to play and within a week she was fine.”
After the implant was activated, Janelys began to imitate sounds and words. Her mother says that she is progressing greatly. She now attends speech therapy and a school for the hearing impaired. Since attending her new school, she’s developed an interest in music and loves watching the television show Dora the Explorer.
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