My Cochlear Implant


By Wyatt Yenerich, A deaf child

soccerWyatt playing soccer

I have had a hearing loss since I was two years old.  I had normal hearing before that, but I lost some hearing after falling off a bed. Later, we learned that I had Large Vestibular Aqueduct Syndrome. I got hearing aids and did well with them. I went to a school for children with hearing loss until I was six. After that, I attended a public school in Arizona. Last year, at my yearly exam at House Ear Institute, the team thought I might do better with a cochlear implant. My left ear was still hearing well, but my right was hearing poorly.  I felt worried when I heard the news, even though I have friends who have implants. My parents also felt worried, but they wanted me to hear the best I could.

In September of last year, I had surgery to receive a cochlear implant in my right ear.  My dad and I traveled to downtown Los Angeles for my surgery. My mom stayed home because she had to take care of my brother and sister. We stayed in the hospital’s hotel, which is connected to the hospital. My dad and I had to wake up at 5:30 a.m. to make my 6:30 a.m. surgery. The doctors and nurses put me to sleep with gas. At first it smelled sweet then it started to smell bad. Then I woke up! The surgery was over. My dad and I stayed in the hospital until that evening, and then we went back to our hotel room. It was hard to sleep because I had a big bandage around my head. My head hurt during that night. In the morning we drove home to Arizona. Three weeks later my whole family went back to California to get my cochlear implant turned on by my audiologist.

At first, my cochlear implant sounded like beeps. The sound bothered me and I was a little worried because it didn’t sound like my other ear. My parents, friends and my speech therapist helped me learn to understand the new sound. Within a few weeks the beeps were gone and I was hearing words. It took many months for me to understand well with just my cochlear implant.

I wear both my hearing aid and my processor every day.  Now I can answer questions about stories with only my processor on.  With both my implant and my hearing aid, I feel like I hear great. I’m a little less tired at the end of the day, too.  I’m just glad I got one!

Another Perspective

by Maria Yenerich,
Co-Executive Director of Arizona H&V

Wyatt Yenerich is my nine year old son. Wyatt wrote his article in his own words, and didn’t want me involved at all. As parents, our stories are not the same as our children’s. He doesn’t remember the many tests along his journey nor see/hear the emotionally charged discussions… he has his story and we have our perspective as his parents.  

Wyatt was identified with a hearing loss at age two and received hearing aids. Within a year, Wyatt’s right ear had progressed to profound, while his left ear remained stable with a mild to severe hearing loss. In an attempt to understand more about Wyatt’s hearing loss, we traveled out of state for a second opinion at the House Research Institute (HRI) in Los Angeles, CA. There, Wyatt was definitively diagnosed with bilateral LVAS and Mondini malformations. He began taking a small dose of a daily diuretic to slow the hearing loss. Over the course of the next five years, Wyatt greatly improved his vocabulary and speech through the use of hearing aids and by attending a preschool through the Arizona School for the Deaf and Blind followed by an Option school until first grade. He was then mainstreamed into a traditional back-to-basics public school. Last year, the HRI informed us that Wyatt was a candidate for a cochlear implant (CI) in his right ear. It was a tough decision. After much consideration, Wyatt underwent the surgery when he was eight. He now uses both his hearing aid and the CI to listen and speak, and continues to show improvement in all his language skills. Besides his improved energy level, we notice that he can now overhear some conversations—something new for him.  

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