Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Look.

The transmitter on his head is attached via a magnet. The ear level piece has a microphone to catch sound and a computer to code out the sound before sending it up and in.

Ethan and I were at the meat counter at our local grocery yesterday, waiting without the slightest shred of patience for our deli sliced ham and cheese. He has this really enthusiastic and slappy way of communicating, or hitting with gusto. Turning 2 years old has somehow taught him that this is a fun and acceptable way of getting my attention. His batteries on the processor had just died so I was using sign (and voice) to let him know that the hitting game wasn’t really in the cards.

Our interaction garnered some attention, particularly from the friendly woman standing next to me in the meat counter roundup. She smiled broadly at Ethan and said something pleasant to me about the terrible 2’s and what a cutie I had. Then Ethan turned his head. The colossal device that is the transmitter and ear level piece were easily visible. At that instant I noticed the friendly woman quickly turn her glance to the cheese, afraid to be caught staring I’m sure. I understand. It hurts.

On a different day I saw a man in the same grocery blatantly staring at Ethan’s headgear, he must have done a triple take of stares before finally shooting me a dirty look. I was so shocked by it that I just stood there dumbfounded; I should have grabbed a piece of fruit and hurled it at his big ugly head. Later I realized that he probably thought that I had placed a blue-tooth phone on my son’s head.

A child at the library excitedly ran up to me a couple of weeks ago, taking a short break from story time wherein he was seated next to Ethan. He asked me happily “Is that a hearing machine on his head?”

I wish there were more adults in our day-to-day world who were as uninhibited and curious as the little boy at the library.

19 comments:

slouching mom said...

You are so right. It's just another example of children being wiser (and nicer) than adults.

Anonymous said...

Amen! Our insecurity gives us away, particularly in our ability to confront and be interested in difference. I am thoroughly convinced that our culture of ‘coolness’ (a passive and sophomoric cover for that insecurity) creates patterns of behavior that inevitably form our adult selves. Thank goodness for examples of kindness and courage, small interruptions in this education of coolness.
Misha

jen said...

I am curious. how does the magnet work? does it stay on? how is it going? tell me everything.

Anonymous said...

that was so cool that that little kid asked you that man i would have never had the courage

Oh, The Joys said...

I wish the same. Absolutely.

Russell C. Golowin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Drew's Mom said...

Amen! We get stared at all the time. We are quite the show with double the equipment, blinking red lights...

We were at Grater's the other night and the woman at the table next to us had a serious staring problem. She could not control herself. I really wanted to get up and say something to her, but Drew's Dad just decided to stare at her. She realized the error of her ways.

I wish people would just ask...

Sorry about the deleted comment...Drew's Dad had logged into my computer!

Hetha said...
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KC said...

You have restraint; that guy would have been wearing a watermelon if it were me. Even if I had put a bluetooth phonet there.

Hetha said...

jen,

You asked...so here it goes!

He has a magnet implanted under the skin, there is also a magnet in the coil which tranmits the data. It stays really well unless he bumps into furniture or rubs it off while rolling around on the floor.

The sound is transmitted via radio waves, then sent through the electrode array (there are 22 electrodes) which stimulates the auditory nerve. It's bionics in action. He hears through his head, the ear is bypassed completely.

There's more...but I'll spare you the gritty details of mapping sessions, etc.

Glad you asked, I think it's fascinating stuff!

Laurie said...

I like the sound of the "hearing machine." Or even a $7,000 computer sitting on the ear to help a person hear. . .

Eileen said...

Adults have a lot to learn. That's why I like working with kids. They are honest and curious and will just ask. Instead of giving the stare, pretending not to look or making judgements.
I think it is cool and pretty amazing how it works.
Sorry you have to deal with people who are just uncomfortable with things that are out of the norm or people who are just plain ignorant.
Just remember you and Ethan rock!!

Nikkicole said...

hes like his momma a computer freak and he needs his glasses lol

Anonymous said...

well i think that he will also turn out to be smart and i like the phone comment

Kyla said...

Me too. Me too.

jen said...

wow. that is so incredibly amazing. and think, if you lived in tibet or 50 years ago he'd never have this and yet you do and his life is so much different because of it.

so of course now i am wondering HOW they got the magnet under his skin and if that was traumatic for you or relatively simple.

wow. i think you should tell us more about this when you feel like it..it's amazing.

Kyla said...

I know I already commented, but I had to come back. I was just thinking, what an AMAZING thing they are looking away from. It is BEAUTIFUL. He can hear! It is a little miracle, right there on the side of his head...and everyone is missing it. Such a handsome little guy, walking around with a miracle right there to share with everyone who takes the time, and they are missing out doubly.

Hetha said...

Wow Kyla, you are so very right. I never looked at it that way! Thanks for putting it that way.

Anonymous said...

Hang in there. Try not to compare him with other kids -- he is YOUR sweetie, and he is making progress! Kids with CIs make progress at different rates. With some kids it's gradual, and with others, it sort of clicks in one day, and he'll "get it". Cochlear implants are the greatest advancement imaginable for deaf people. You might want to put some stickers on the coil or headpiece so it looks "cool" and less "medical". If you didn't get any from your implant center, ask. They have all kinds of really cute stuff you can stick on them. Hang in there -- you are GREAT!!!