Addi Ferguson, Cochlear implants 

Addi Ferguson Arkansas Childrens Hospital

Benton, 5 years old

When Addi was born in 2008, she failed her newborn hearing screening. The pediatrician advised Kelli and Jarrod, Addi’s mother and father, to bring her to Arkansas Children’s Hospital for a follow-up hearing test.

After the hearing test, an audiologist informed Kelli that Addi had moderate-to-severe hearing loss in both ears.

“When Addi was first diagnosed, my immediate reaction was shock,” says Kelli. “After the initial shock came multiple emotions all at once. Fear: not knowing what kind of life my baby was going to have. Frustration: not knowing anything about hearing loss, not knowing why this had happened. Determination: I knew above all else that we would, with the help of family, friends, and mostly the staff at ACH, figure out the best possible route to take with Addi.”

After the diagnosis, Addi was immediately fitted for hearing aids, and later that month began speech therapy with Michelle Leach, SLP in the Listening Center at ACH.

“Our speech therapist always went above and beyond to help us with anything we needed,” says Kelli. “She always answered any questions we had, as well as addressed any concerns.”

Addi’s hearing worsened throughout the next few months, and the audiology team at ACH visited with Addi’s parents about Addi’s options. They learned that Addi was a candidate for cochlear implants, surgically implanted electronic devices that provide a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf.

“The most difficult thing about all this was the fear of the unknown,” Kelli says. “While cochlear implants are becoming more and more known, it is still a relatively new procedure and much therapy and follow-up is needed after surgery. It was not an easy decision to make.”

Addi had her first cochlear implant surgery when she was 14 months old and her second surgery just six months later. She underwent speech and language therapy and is now at the same level as her peers.

Five-year-old Addi loves to dress up, play princesses and take gymnastics.

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