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How EHDI Changed Our Lives. The Emerson Family Story. Introduction. Tony and Allison Emerson Reagan, age 4 Siblings: Katie, age 7 Sydney, age 5 Andrew, age 8 mos. . Reagan’s Birth. June 28, 2000 Full-term pregnancy, no complications with delivery

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How ehdi changed our lives

How EHDI Changed Our Lives

The Emerson Family Story


  • Tony and Allison Emerson

  • Reagan, age 4

  • Siblings:

    Katie, age 7

    Sydney, age 5

    Andrew, age 8 mos.

Reagan s birth
Reagan’s Birth

  • June 28, 2000

  • Full-term pregnancy, no complications with delivery

  • First child in our family to have hearing screen

Re screening process
Re-Screening Process

  • Returned to hospital for two failed re-screens

  • Pediatrician recommended at two- week appointment that we follow-up with an audiologist by six months of age

First audiologist appointments
First Audiologist Appointments

  • Reagan was two weeks old at first appointment

  • She was too young for most tests

  • Tried twice to get ABR completed while sleeping

  • Waited for Reagan to reach 10 lbs.

  • Sedated ABR September 13, 2000

  • No response on ABR test

Accepting the news
Accepting the News

  • Misunderstood results as we left the office

  • Initially asked the audiologist what we should do about services and got very little advice; handed a pamphlet about our county Infant Toddler program

  • Kept the results from most of our family

  • Began to make calls about where to learn sign language

Second opinion
Second Opinion

  • Local Audiologist

  • Explained first-hand experience with Hearing Loss

  • Did not re-evaluate, but answered questions

  • Gave written information on Oral Approach

Ct scan and ear molds
CT Scan and Ear Molds

  • During the ABR, discussion began with the audiologist about Cochlear Implant possibility

  • Sedated for the CT scan and made molds at same time

  • Reviewed results with local ENT and discussed how we would proceed

  • CI Candidacy in the distance due to minimum age requirement of 18 mos

Boystown national research hospital
Boystown National Research Hospital

  • Clinic Day

    • Medical exam

    • Sedated ABR – No response

    • ENT

    • Hearing aid fitting

    • Early Interventionist

    • Genetic interview

    • Eye exam

  • Our local audiologist met us in Omaha and attended our appointment

  • During trip we visited the Omaha Hearing School

Hearing aid trials
Hearing Aid Trials

  • Phonak Pico Forte Aids

  • Paid for them out of our own pocket so as not to delay amplification

  • Due to Reagan’s age (4 months) by the time we received new molds they were usually too small and thus would feedback almost continuously. This was a time of great frustration.

Early intervention
Early Intervention

  • Began sign language classes in late September

  • First service provider was Teacher of the Deaf/HH – met at Father-in-law’s home because of school district boundaries

  • Second service provider met in our home but, did not have qualifications to work with Deaf/HH

  • Infant Toddler Network eventually contracted with the Teacher of the Deaf/HH

  • Learned early in the process what was meant by the term ‘advocate for our daughter’

  • Total Communication was used because it was the strong recommendation of the service provider and amplification was not working well

Cochlear implant candidacy
Cochlear Implant Candidacy

  • Reagan remained a no response with the use of hearing aids

  • Much of therapy time was spent trying to evoke a response; very disheartening and frustrating

  • Felt like goal of Reagan becoming an Oral Communicator was slipping away with use of hearing aids alone

  • January 2001 began appointments in Kansas City at the Midwest Ear Institute

  • Insurance approval came fairly early in the process

Ci surgery
CI Surgery

  • April 26, 2001

  • Reagan was 9 months old; the youngest CI recipient at the Midwest Ear Institute

  • Surgery lasted nearly four hours due to complications from chronic ear infections

  • Recovery was fairly smooth

Ci activation
CI Activation

  • May 22, 2001

  • Expectation was just to see that she had received some stimulation from the device

  • Media Frenzy

Ci habilitation
CI Habilitation

  • St Joseph Institute for the Deaf – Kansas City

    • Twice weekly appointments at their location

    • Utilized health insurance

  • Continued therapy session in our home with Teacher for the Deaf/HH

  • Discontinued signs during therapy sessions

Language development and therapy
Language Development and Therapy

Family Affair

  • Everyday life became a language lesson

  • Each member of our family was sacrificing

Reagan age 2
Reagan, age 2

  • SJI Playgroup

  • Discontinued local services and received funding from Part C for insurance deductible

Reagan age 3
Reagan, age 3

  • SJI – KC

    • Individual therapy reduced

    • Two full-days of preschool weekly

    • Funded entirely by school district

    • Experienced Transition

  • Church preschool

    • Small class size

    • No significant accommodation

Reagan age 4
Reagan, age 4

  • Attends preschool at local elementary school

  • Services from Teacher of the Deaf

  • FM system

  • Resumed therapy at SJI – KC after Bi-CI

Bi lateral ci
Bi-lateral CI

  • Interest began in June 2003

  • Hearing aid trial October 2004

  • Insurance approval December 2004

  • Surgery/Activation February 2005

Why we are grateful for ehdi
Why we are grateful for EHDI

  • Very early in Reagan’s life we began to gain knowledge and prepare for decisions

  • Thankful for early Cochlear Implantation

  • Significantly helped us achieve our goal to have Reagan become an oral communicator


  • Our persistence with gaining appropriate intervention and dedication to aural habilitation resulted in some wonderful progress for Reagan.

  • Newborn Hearing Screening did not allow us to cure our daughter.

  • UNHS allowed us to gain an insight at the earliest opportunity into a fascinating world many hearing people never experience.

  • We are thankful that we knew from birth that Reagan had so much to teach us.