Nucleus Babyworn – Good or Bad?

It has been a few months since Cochlear released the Nucleus Babyworn System that allows infants to use the Freedom BTE controller by attaching the processor to their clothing.

We are curious as to what percentage of parents are preferring this method over the traditional way which is to use the bodyworn controller until the child is able to wear the BTE comfortably on their ears.

Some parents have reported that their infants are able to pull the processor off the clips of the Babyworn. We have not noticed any change in order levels for our shirts. This would suggest that parents are still preferring the bodyworn controllers for their infants.

Please Post comments of your own personal experiences.  Many others will benefit from what you may have to say! 🙂

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Hair Cell Regeneration – Myth or Reality

human ear diagramIn this month’s issue of Volta Voices, Dr. Stephen Epstein discusses the latest on the status of the fabled “hair cell regeneration” – which is the ability to restore hearing capabilities to the damaged hair cells of the inner ear. Many parents, when deciding if they should implant their child, worry that perhaps by implanting their child they are denying them the option of having their hearing restored naturally through this process.

According to Dr. Epstein, the most promising area of research is the controversial method of using stem cells to replace the destroyed tissue. Human stem cells would be most effective for this process, as they would have the greatest potential to produce normal hearing in humans. However, according to current federal regulations, human embryo stem cell research is prohibited. Therefore, research must be carried out on mice and then many tests must be conducted to see if the results are applicable to humans.

Many experts believe that even should a breakthrough be made in this field, it would take the Food and Drug Administration close to 10 years to approve the method for use in children. To wait that long and leave a child without the ability to hear would destroy the child’s ability to develop normal auditory and language skills. Therefore – the wisest choice would be to not be concerned with what future technology may bring, and jump and what is available today for your child.

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Child’s Voice of Wood Dale, Ill. in the Chicago Tribune

Our good friends at Child’s Voice School for Hearing Impaired children outside Chicago were reported on in the Chicago Tribune. In the article, Michele Wilkins, the school’s director, described how she started the school back with only a few children, and how the school has grown over the years.

Interestingly, Michele tells how the enrollment has declined over the recent past due to the increase of mainstreaming children with deafness into ordinary schools, which can be directly tied to the amazing results achieved by the use of cochlear implants.

I just edited the Wikipedia article about cochlear implants, which stated that the results of cochlear implants in children “have been mixed”. All you parents know that the cochlear implant produces amazing results, and certainly the child is better off with them than without.

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Does the Freedom Bodyworn Give Better Sound than the BTE?

nucleus freedom BDW

VS.

nucleus freedom BTE

In meeting with my daughter’s school audiologist yesterday, he mentioned that he was under the impression that the sound produced by the Nucleus Freedom Bodyworn processor is superior to that of the BTE model.

We wonder if this is indeed true. According to what we’ve heard, and as was described in great length at the most recent Cochlear Celebration, both kinds of Freedom processors are the same – as they are completely modular. The only difference between them is the battery power.

We wonder what Cochlear would say to the audiologist’s impressions. Probably they would vehemently disagree. Similarly, at the Celebration they denied any meaningful difference between using rechargeable or alkaline batteries, while some users swear that there is a noticeable loss of quality while using rechargeables.

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Broward Times – Family must sell home to fund implant for deaf daughter

The family of a young Florida girl that was denied cochlear implants by her insurance company is faced with having to sell their home in order to come up with funds for cochlear implant surgery.

The Article in the Broward Times notes how the insurance company denied coverage as it was a preexisting condition. Since the cost of cochlear implant surgery is near the $100,000 range, the sale of their home is required in order to come up with the large funds.

Donations can be given to the orginazation listed in the article.

Although one’s heart does go out to the parents of this girl, one cannot blame the insurance company for this denial. Although insurance companies tend to misbehave in these coverages, especially regarding bilateral implants, this case is justified. I don’t agree with those who claim that the denial is a violation of discrimination laws, and I would rather focus on getting this girl the help she so desperately needs.

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New York Times Article on Follow Up Hearing Test for Newborns

Newborn babyThe New York Times has authored an informative article on the lack of follow-up testing for newborns that fail the initial hearing screening. It seems that although most infants are screened for hearing loss at birth, they tend not to follow up with further testing.

We guess that this is due to the lack of encouragement from the family physician. We remember when our daughter failed the hearing screening at birth, our doctor was all reassuring that nothing is wrong. We were temporarily lulled into a false sense of security by his claims.

It is important that family physicians become more educated regarding infant hearing loss and the treatments available. By becoming aware of the importance of early hearing loss detection and intervention, many hearing impaired children would receive treatment earlier on.

The Hearing Loss Fact Sheet shows the costs of a hearing impaired person when they are not treated timely. Now, with the advent of cochlear implants, children should be receiving them in much greater numbers.

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Controversy over Official Definition of Auditory Verbal Therapy

There is a disagreement between distinguished AVTs regarding the new official description of Auditory Verbal Therapy as defined by the current governing body A.G. Bell.

The primary concern is over the language of the description which states that Auditory Verbal Therapy is to “Promote early diagnosis of hearing loss in newborns, infants, toddlers, and young children, followed by immediate audiologic management and Auditory-Verbal therapy.”

This language may be used to infer that older school-aged children are not beneficiaries of the Auditory Verbal Method, as it is geared rather to infants and young (read: not school-aged) children.

Prominent Auditory Verbal Therapists in the New York area, such as Anne Kearney and Jane Madell have voiced their concerns over this matter. They are afraid that school-aged children that do need Auditory Verbal Therapy will be denied access to auditory verbal therapy by their school districts. The School District can claim that the “official description” of AVT states that it is only intended for “young children”.

Shantall Hall, a spokeswoman for the A.G. Bell Academy, feels that this is of no concern. The language is only intended for those that receive therapy from a young age, but not to exclude older children that have recently began Auditory Verbal Therapy.

Nevertheless, there is concern that the School Districts can interpret the new wording negatively and deny vital AVT services to children that can benefit greatly from it.

If you agree with Jane and Anne, let your opinion be heard. Write your feelings to A.G. Bell and let them know how you feel on this matter.

Send message to A.G. Bell

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