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Isabella's Story

My daughter, Isabella, was deafened at the tender age of just seven weeks due to bacterial meningitis. It was a horrible experience as any life threatening illness can be. After the illness we discovered through a CT scan that she had suffered moderate damage on her brain's right side and spotty damage on her left. The neurologists could not tell us what her future would hold. We were told she may have long term cognitive and physical disabilities.

In addition to discovering the brain damage, an ABR in the hospital confirmed a moderate to severe hearing loss. I was devastated by all of this news and with two other small children at home; I found it difficult to cope. Still, I am a doer and I began to investigate programs for the
deaf when I returned home from the hospital. I found a parent/child program at a local oral school of the deaf. It was at this school that I was told about cochlear implants and the incredible differences they can make for individuals. I began to research the possibility of implants for

After I contacted the U of MN ENT department about implants, we were put on the fast track. I was unaware that bacterial meningitis left ossification in the cochlea as a sort of scar tissue. Due to this, implantation is rushed in meningitis survivors to ensure a successful implantation.

Isabella was bilaterally implanted with Nucleus 24 implants at the young age of 6 1/2 months. She was bilaterally implanted because her surgeon at the U of MN felt bilaterals would become commonplace in the near future and due to ossification, it would not be a possibility unless it was done at the same time.

Isabella is now a happy, healthy 4 year old girl. She is mainstreamed in preschool and looks forward to kindergarten next year. Thanks to her Auditory-verbal therapist who she sees on a weekly basis, she is age appropriate for language. In addition to the hearing loss, the only residual after effect of the meningitis is a slight limp on her right leg. We are very fortunate. I feel a lot of credit is due to early implantation. Also, her simultaneous bilateral implantation has allowed her to hear very well in noisy situations and she has naturally developed the ability to localize sound.

Tonia R.

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