The sweet sound of simple sounds – for the first time
Eliza Anderson is a successful hair stylist in Lone Tree who leads a very happy life thanks, in part, to her ability to hear. “Sometimes it is hard trying to keep up with conversations in a restaurant or some place that has a lot of background noise, but my Cochlear implants are awesome and let me function easily in the hearing world.”
By Amy Shanahan; photos courtesy of Becky Anderson and Amanda Quam
Birds chirping outside the window in spring, coyotes howling at dusk, babies crying, dogs barking, children laughing; these are all sounds that most of us take for granted. However, for those children and adults with severe to profound hearing loss, these sounds do not exist.
Cochlear Americas Inc. is a Colorado-based company that services the needs of the hearing impaired with their amazing technology that mimics natural hearing. Whether a person has had hearing loss since birth, or has experienced progressive hearing loss, Cochlear implants allow these individuals to hear … sometimes for the first time!
Eliza Anderson is a 23-year-old resident of Castle Pines Village who was born without the ability to hear. For the first several years of her life, Anderson wore hearing aids and received speech therapy. However, her hearing loss degenerated and at age six, Anderson became the first child in the United States to receive a Cochlear implant in her right ear that did not require a body-worn processor. At the age of 17, Anderson received an implant in her left ear and she now successfully hears from both ears.
“When I first received my implant, the thing that really caught my attention was the sound of my shoes on the pavement as we were leaving the hospital. I had never heard my own footsteps before!” remarked Anderson. “I don’t know where I would be without my Cochlear implants. I feel very lucky that I don’t have to depend on anyone to communicate for me. I’m independent and very happy!”
Eddie and Sydney Quam are a brother and sister who also live in Castle Pines Village and attend Timber Trail Elementary. Both children were born with degenerative hearing loss. They were diagnosed at birth and wore hearing aids for a few years. Sydney suffered dramatic hearing loss at age four and received her first Cochlear implant almost immediately. Several months later, Eddie’s hearing degenerated and both kids received implants together – Sydney for the second time, and Eddie for the first.
The children’s father Mark Quam remarked, “Cochlear implants have been the gift of a lifetime. So many things that we all take for granted will always be a gift to the kids and to us. Both kids are not only thriving in school both academically and socially, they are excelling.”
For Eddie and Sydney, the implants offer certain advantages beyond communication and interaction with their friends and those around them. Both kids enjoy the option to turn their hearing off! They are able to go to bed in total silence and are able to turn off the sound of their baby brother crying or their mom or dad asking them to clean their room. There may be something to be said for the gift of silence as well …
Cochlear implants are designed for infants through adults and are able to help those with severe to profound hearing loss.