Bilateral Cochlear Implants Make “Dramatic Difference” in Child's Ability to Hear
Khaliq Winder was born with a rare condition that caused him to be profoundly deaf. On September 23, 2009, Dr. David Eisenman, director of UMMC's Otology and Neurotology Program, performed a bilateral simultaneous cochlear implant on the 22-month-old boy. Khaliq's operation marked the first time UMMC had implanted two cochlear implants in an individual at the same time, also known as a bilateral cochlear implant. Once the implants were activated on October 27, Khaliq was able to hear his parents' voices -- and the rest of the world -- for the first time. Keith Winder, Khaliq's father, shares their story below.
Khaliq was born with Waardenburg Syndrome. Once we found out, we went to get him tested. As he started getting older, we realized he wasn't responding to anything. He had a hearing test in Harford County and they referred him to the Maryland Hearing and Balance Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
When we first arrived, we saw Dawn Marsiglia, a clinical audiologist who ran a few tests and determined that Khaliq had profound hearing loss. They tried hearing aids for a few months, but he was not getting much benefit. Dr. Eisenman said that if the hearing aids didn't work, they would be willing to try a bilateral cochlear implant since he couldn't hear out of either inner ear. Because Khaliq didn't benefit from the hearing aids and he had bilateral profound sensorineural hearing loss, he was a candidate for the bilateral cochlear implant.
Khaliq had the cochlear implant surgery on September 23, 2009. It took five hours, and since it was outpatient surgery, we took him home the same day. The day after surgery, he was up and running around. He was his old self again.
I thought everyone at the Maryland Hearing and Balance Center was helpful. They always answered my questions. If I had a problem, I was able to contact them by e-mail or phone and they answered immediately.
The implant surgery dramatically improved Khaliq's hearing -- he can now hear, and there is a big difference in his ability to hear soft sounds. He responds to his name and we have several speech therapists working on his speech development.
Now, he sometimes imitates sounds. He recently started singing and dancing to the cartoons he watches on television. Before, he couldn't hear the television at all. The implants have made him more attentive. He doesn't have to look at you as much to know what's going on; he now relies more on listening than visual cues. It's a dramatic difference.