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Dr. David Foyt on YNN: Children and Deafness Part 1

December 20, 2012

Approximately two out of every 2,000 babies are will be born deaf. A life free of sounds sound can be a challenging one. Marcie Fraser reports.

I had a feeling something was wrong. At seven months we did a test and confirmed she wasn’t hearing. She was profoundly deaf,” said Lisa Mariconti.

The news was devastating.

“We didn’t know how to educate her, there were so many unanswered questions it’s just unbelievable what goes through your mind,” said Mariconti.

Immediately, they learned sign language.

“She started signing at 10 months and then she just took off,” Mariconti explained.

Then she had another daughter. She was also deaf, and then her third…

“They told me it was one in four chance, I got three out of four,” she said.

When she found out all three of her daughters were deaf, her reaction may surprise you.

“I was really, really happy. I wanted my children to have the same language so I didn’t deal with one signing and one not talking, and they’d always have each other,” said Mariconti.

The family adapted wonderfully, school was going well for all her daughters, but her oldest wanted more.

“She had some friends who had the implant, who was ten years old, and her oldest wanted to hear something and so she kept bugging me about it and I kept dismissing her,” said Mariconti.

You can only dismiss the eagerness of a child who wants to hear for so long. Her daughter was a candidate for a cochlear implant, but there is a risk of facial nerve damage.

“A cochlear implant an electronic device that provides electronic stimulation to the nerves to inner ear,” said Dr. David Foyt, a neurotologist.

Cochlear implants have proven to be very effective, and more so if they are implanted earlier before speech and language are developed before the age three.

“The earlier you put the cochlear implant in and provide sound stimulation to the brain the better,” said Dr. Foyt.

Lisa decided to allow all three daughters to get the implants. Next week, Marcie Fraser has an update on how the surgeries went.

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