Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My little Bookworm

We were told early on to read 10 books a day to Natalie to help in her therapy. Even before she could hear. She has gained a very strong love for books needless to say. She will spend 5-10 minutes stacking books on a chair and get a whole chair full piled high and then climb up into it to read her books and thumb through the pages. We have read so many lately and out of curiosity I thought I would see how well she does recognizing which book I was asking for. 3 out of 3!

Check out her video:

And her love of books at different stages:

7 months

9 months

17 months

17 months

17 months

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Toy Ideas

Cochlear online has a page about toy ideas for kids with hearing loss. Some great ideas with Christmas just around the corner. Just passing along... Click here to go to their site.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 9, 2011

11+ Months Hearing

This girl loves to accessorize these days! That hard thing is dealing with hats and things that go on her head, because her magnets and processors get in the way and tend to fall off. Speaking of the word "off", Natalie has now learned to say it. She loves to point to all the light switches and say "off" and then proceeds to turn our lights on and off.

Here is a brief video of how well she understands a task and then does it...

She also really loves bows and I can understand when she asks for one, or two, or three....

We are still working on speech babble with her and alternating vowel sounds. She is the type of personality in therapy that likes to do things her way and we just kind of go with the flow with her. Some days she is really good about repeating back ling sounds, or speech babble, and other days she would rather juts watch and observe. I do know that she is really inputting so much of what we say and do though.

With our Christmas decorations out, it has brought so many new and interesting things AND vocabulary to learn. Natalie already understood who our elf Lilly was after day #3. It is amazing that she has learned that so quickly. We can ask where Lilly is and she will go and find her.

This has been a fun time of year for Natalie. I am so thankful she can hear bells ringing, Christmas music, the train around the Christmas Tree and all the wonderful things this season. Such a blessing.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

9+ Months Hearing

I had the opportunity to go to a National Hearing conference in Raleigh last week and was able to learn so much. I was asked last minute to be on a parent panel the first night of meetings and it was great to give the parent perspective to so many audiologists and students.

Natalie has now been hearing approximately 9 1/2 months... and she was 9 1/2 months at implantation. Time flies...

It is amazing how much she learns and processes in just 1 months time. Which is why the early implantation is so important. Our ENT typically implants between 10-14 months and says that is the optimal time in his opinion. We were lucky to have hers done at 9 1/2 months and I am so thankful for that. We still have a lot of catching up to do, but she is doing well, learning steadily and consistently and surprises us with how much she comprehends even if she can't say it yet.

I think I forgot to post her 8 months hearing audiogram, so for my journaling purposes, here it is. She is hearing at 25db in both ears, which is within a normal hearing range. Much nicer for me to see than when she wasn't even hearing at 110db with hearing aids on.

Natalie is so good at spotting airplanes whenever we are outside. She can sometimes hear them before I do! We live over a nice airplane path, so whenever we are outside or walking to the bus stop in the afternoons, she gets lots of practice finding the airplanes.

We are currently working on alternating vowel sounds (ee-oo, oh-eye, ay-ow). This mastered skill will help produce more jibber jabber. She can do a few like uh-oh already. We practice with her by saying the sound, and one of us or the kids will say it, then we repeat it and then give Natalie a turn to try. Sometimes she does and other times she just watches us. Practice makes perfect!

She knows so many body parts now. She can say or attempts to say the following and points to them: eyes, nose, mouth, teeth, ears, hair, and elbow. She knows where her fingers, toes, feet, hands, and belly button are but can't really say them yet. She gets really excited to sing, "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes."

I took this video with my iphone so it isn't the best quality...

Thursday, November 3, 2011


I have a lot to catch up on with this super cute one. She (and her sister) dressed up as ladybugs this year. I had ordered a black headband that she uses to hold her processors in place and we just attached some antennas to them, which was an easy fix! I am thinking she may need some sort of costume each year that uses antennas, because she was a cutey pie.

She caught on to trick or treating very easily. She loved grabbing handfuls of candy and putting them in her basket. It was fun to watch her prance around down the street. 

In her therapy, Natalie caught on to "boo" for the sound a ghost makes. She was putting this small silly ghost on her finger and going around the housing saying "boo" to everyone and of course we would scream and she loved it.

 It was fun finding one house all decorated with ghosts. It sure caught Natalie's attention!

enjoying some goods from the candy bucket

I am way behind on blogging. I have lots more pictures/videos to post!

her scary Halloween shirt compliments of Nana.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


I have had some inquiries about the headbands Natalie uses.

Please email me directly and I can get you that information.

Monday, October 10, 2011

8 Months Hearing

Natalie had her last audiogram and booth testing 2 weeks ago. This was the best audiogram we have gotten on her. When we are in the booth, Natalie will hear a series of sounds produced and she is conditioned to turn her head once she hears the sound. Once she turns her head, she is rewarded by animals that make sounds and light up. We do 1 ear at a time and the other one is turned off so we can precisely gage how well her hearing is in each ear, since it can vary.

Natalie is now hearing 25 db across almost all the frequencies now. (except for 1 in one of her ears which was at 30 db). This is such a wonderful thing and I am so glad we have gotten to this point. A person with normal hearing is anywhere from 0-25 db. When Natalie was tested as an infant, she could not hear at all even with hearing aids at 110 db.

We taught her when we say "touchdown" to put her hands in the air and that has been really fun.

Go Buckeyes!

She is still learning so many new things and I really think she is on the verge of so many new words. We  have been transitioning in our therapy from animal sounds to actually saying the name of the animal/object. She is getting really close on so many things. I am reading tons and tons with her and we have been pointing out things and working on vocabulary. It is very exciting to see her progression. I have really taken for granted kids with normal vocabulary at this age. Now when I hear kids her age and how much they are saying, I am almost surprised at how many words they know. We still have a lot to catch up on, but I think she is doing so well for only 8 months of hearing. 

And, we will be headed back to Ohio come summertime. This time a little south of Buckeye Country and we are probably going to enroll her in a Moog program outside of Cincinnati. Very excited for this opportunity for her.

the littlest buckeye

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Natalie at 18 Months

Natalie is officially 18 months and is just a few days shy of 8 months hearing. Every week, she adds so many new things to her list and she is learning and catching on fast.

New this week:

1. When we say "touchdown" she will put both her hands in the air. 
2. A favorite book of hers "Tubby Time" has a page where the little boy has water poured over his eyes and whenever Natalie turns to that page, she always says, "ow" just like in the book.
3. Today when daddy came home, she said "hi" and waved at him. (this isn't totally new, but we haven't hear hi spontaneously very much.
4. When we sing "row, row, row your boat" --- when we get to the part where we say, "if you see an alligator don't forget to scream" ... Natalie will put her hands on her face and scream. She even says "ro" when asking for this song.
5. She is identifying many songs. When we start to sing a song, she can appropriately do different actions, signaling that she is understanding and hearing what we are saying.

* Next post hopefully more videos. In the meantime, enjoy her pictures we had taken this summer. 

We all love our Natalie!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

CI News

We received word a few days ago that the company that manufactures Natalie's implant issued a voluntary recall on the internal implant.  The failure rate has been less than 1% since 2009 and so they issued a statement saying they noticed an increase in numbers of failure rate.

After talking with our audiologists, we just have to sit tight. Natalie may or may not be affected by this. There have been 75 reported cases and 2 of which, were at our audiologist office. We are not sure if it is a bad batch problem as they are still investigating the cause which could take months. The way we would notice, is Natalie's processor would not work correctly and after troubleshooting, nothing will work on it. It is not something painful or bothersome, it just stops working.

Since they were seeing an increase in failure rates, they decided to pull off the shelves in hospital any remaining internal implants until they can further find the cause of the increased failures. If Natalie were to have a bad implant, she would have to have surgery again and be re-implanted of the previous generation internal implant, while the external processor is still compatible. (hopefully she will not be affected by this recall and hopefully the failure rate is still around 1%.)

There are 3 companies that make CI's, and prior to this recall, they had the least amount of failure rates (and probably still do) and never had any major issues with recalls. I am still glad we went with them and am hoping they resolve and find this problem quickly. I am on a few online forums and have a good support group of moms so we definitely are watching out for each other.

Lets hope this princess doesn't have to have surgery again!
 (e-mail below...)

Cochlear Limited is undertaking a voluntary recall of the unimplanted Cochlear Nucleus CI500 cochlear implant range.
While less than 1% of CI512 implants have failed since launch in 2009 , Cochlear has identified a recent increase in the number of Nucleus CI512 implant failures.   In an abundance of caution and with our recipients in mind, Cochlear has issued a voluntary recall of the Nucleus CI500 range of cochlear implants while it further investigates the issue.
No implants outside the Cochlear Nucleus CI500 range are affected by this voluntary recall including Nucleus Freedom implants which remain available.
The Nucleus 5 external devices (Nucleus CP810 Sound Processor) and any previous generation sound processors are not affected by this recall.
It is important to note that all existing Nucleus CI512 implant recipients can continue to use their system as normal. 
If a Nucleus CI512 failure occurs, the implant safely shuts down.  In the event of a failure, recipients can be re-implanted with the Nucleus Freedom implant range which remains available.  Nucleus Freedom is fully compatible with the Nucleus 5 Sound Processor System which is not affected by this recall. 
For people considering a cochlear implant, Cochlear recommends the use of the Nucleus Freedom range of Cochlear implants which are fully compatible with the Nucleus 5 sound processor system.  This combination of Nucleus Freedom and Nucleus 5 sound processor system does not sacrifice any of the performance benefits of the Nucleus 5 processor system. 
For more than 25 years, cochlear implant reliability has been of paramount importance to Cochlear, and we remain committed to providing high quality, high reliable cochlear implant systems. 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

7 Months Hearing

Natalie has become quite the bookworm. I love watching her read and babble along, so much fun. She really is doing amazing. I just love seeing her progress and this whole world of sound and speech take over. I finally captured some more video of her to mark a lot of her accomplishments in just a short amount of time.

This last audiology visit and really changing up the mapping on her programs has made a huge difference. I feel like we are really accelerating now. Check out her video:

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Has it really been a month?

It has been a month since I last updated this blog. Lots to write about.

First off... we survived our long and lengthy plane ride and trip. Going through security was no problem at the airport. I decided to just hand over her processors, back-ups and remote control and not have them go through the metal detector or the x-ray machine. It was no problem. I had her metal card on hand but she didn't even beep going through the detector. Coming back, they did a pat down on her instead and was no problem. She did alright for the flight...what you can expect for a toddler I suppose.

Natalie was obsessed with the horses across the street from Grammy's house. She definitely recognized when we said "lets go see the horsies" and she would immediately start doing the "clicking" sound we have taught her during therapy. We do a lot of animal sounds in her AVT, so it is fun for her to see the live version.

going to feed the ducks

Some cute ones of Natalie in Utah and Idaho

another animal sound "woof-woof"

 Some things Natalie is doing to keep busy these days:

loves the puzzle pieces

playing outside

I  catch her reading books all the time..
I hear her babbling as she is reading and looking over them.
I love it!

and a little light saber action with big brother... always fun.

Another fun thing in Utah for Nat was going on the boat: "puh, puh, puh" as she says it. The sound for the boat.

Her last audiology visit, we still aren't getting the best reliable audiograms. It is very difficult to assess good hearing at this age. She is so busy, pre-occupied, and after driving 2 1/2 hours in a car, does not like to sit still in a sound booth. We do the best we can with toys and snacks to distract her. Our audiologist wanted to get a little more aggressive this past visit, so she changed up her mapping some. I feel like the first few days, Natalie was pulling off her processors a lot, and it probably sounded a little different and louder for her than she is used to. She seems to be settling in ok now. 

At church on Sunday, when we were leaving, she turned to someone and waved and said, "bye-bye." Also, the other day I said "sh", without any gestures.. on her own she brought her finger to her mouth and nose to mimick "sh". 

I think she is babbling more, adding to her already existing vocabulary of "mama", "dada", "uh-oh" is:


And the animal sounds she can say; most of the time are:

"ooh-ooh, aah ahh" (monkey)

She is also really starting to understand more common phrases around the house.

"lets go bye bye"
"go get your shoes"
"lets go eat, or get a snack"
"lets go up, up, up"
"lets go down the stairs"
"where is your... sippy?, blankie?, paci?"
"where is the book, do you want to read a book?"

latest audiogram 8/18/2011

Sunday, July 24, 2011

First Airplane Trip

We are headed on our first airplane trip with Natalie cross-country to visit family. I am hoping going through security will be non-stressful and hopefully we won't have any problems with the processors and back-ups. I have packed all our gear, and it will all be coming carry-on as we don't want our luggage lost. 

So, now just to entertain this little lady (and the other 2 kids) on 2 different flights going through 2 different time zones. More updates to come later...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Trip down memory lane...

So, for those of you that read this blog and didn't know Natalie pre-cochlear implants, we were in the same boat as many of you.

Just a rundown of a few things:

1. Natalie did not pass her newborn hearing test, 6 weeks later she was retested with a sleeping (non-sedative) ABR test. That is when we found out her hearing loss was severe/profound.

2. The following week, we met with a group called New Beginnings that gave us all the information we needed to proceed with Natalie's hearing loss. We had an early intervention teacher assigned to us for weekly 1 hour appointments that started when Natalie was around 2 months old. Thankfully she just comes to our house for this, which made it so much easier than driving to those appointments.

3. By 3 months, Natalie had a sedated MRI, saw 2 different ENT's, genetic testing, saw an optholmologist, EKG done (just ruling out anything else) had a 2nd ABR test done, and was fitted for hearing aids. That is a lot of appointments, lots of running around, lots to process in 6 short weeks.

4. 3-9 months was filled with: about monthly audiology visits, new ear mold impressions made, booth testing, and everything preparatory to getting her cochlear implants in January. The only thing that was a little hiccup along the way, was the need for ear tubes due to fluid in the ear (which would prevent her from getting her CI surgery) so those were done 4 weeks before her surgery.

Natalie wore this cap off and on to help keep her hearing aids on.

her little hearing aids...

Natalie around 5 1/2 months with Jenni her AVT teacher

This was around 7-8 months, so just a few months shy of hearing.

and now a walking, talking toddler... "the rest is still unwritten"

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