Jiya was born with a bilateral profound hearing loss: she was fit with hearing aids at six months and stared Auditory-Verbal therapy at HEAR In Dallas. At 12 months of age she received her first cochlear implant and received her second one at 13 months. Jiya’s progress was slow due to unknown factors, yet the HEAR In Dallas staff persevered and kept exploring possibilities. We were told that some children take a few years to learn to process and integrate hearing and the other senses that contribute to communication development. About two and a half years into therapy, Linda set up an appointment with Jiya’s audiologist at the Dallas Ear Institute: she wanted to work with Jiya in the sound booth while her audiologist operated the audiometer. Observing how Jiya responded to the sounds, Linda suspected some type of neurological issue that was hindering our daughter’s progress. She immediately contacted Dr. Peters, Jiya’s surgeon, and asked his opinion on the matter. Dr. Peters contacted a pediatric neuroimaging specialist and together they determined that Jiya has Cochlear Nerve Deficiency (CND): this means she has very small auditory nerves in both ears. Even thought the cochlear implant is working properly, her hearing nerves are too small to carry the necessary information to her brain. We now understand why Jiya has had slow progress in learning to listen and talk with her cochlear implants.
It was suggested that we start educating ourselves about the Auditory Brainstem Implant (ABI), a device that is currently under FDA investigation for children. The HEAR In Dallas team has been with us every step of the way as we contacted the FDA investigational sites at the University of North Carolina and the House Ear Institute in Los Angeles. Both centers consider our daughter a good candidate for this procedure, largely because she has received several years of intensive Auditory-Verbal therapy at HEAR In Dallas. Jiya’s surgery will be in May 2014 at UNC. It is our hope that Jiya’s progress will increase after the device is activated and she continues in intensive hearing and speech therapy. We understand that the quality of hearing with the ABI is not as clear as with a CI, but we are hopeful that she will be able to process the ABI signal and improve her verbal communication.
The HEAR In Dallas therapists are very knowledgeable, patient, and make therapy fun for the kids. They are a great resource for suggesting homework so we can help Jiya every day. In addition, they coordinate services with Jiya’s school teacher and speech therapist: Jiya’s school therapist even took time to come to HEAR In Dallas to observe Jiya in therapy and discuss goals and progress with Linda.
We are very pleased with the professionalism, caring and quality of all the staff at HEAR In Dallas. We would recommend HEAR In Dallas to anyone who needs auditory, speech and language services or needs an evaluation or second opinion regarding appropriate hearing technology.
The Bavishi Family