by Annette Schroeder

On Valentine's Day our daughter, Veronica, was born a healthy six pound baby.  Our pediatrician notified us that Veronica was born with a white forelock, which is a white patch of hair just above her forehead.  He informed us that this could be a syndrome, which is linked to hearing loss.  Veronica passed her newborn hearing test, referred to as an OAE, otoacoustic emissions test.

After a few months, we noticed Veronica was not startled by loud noises and sometimes didn't turn toward our voices when we entered her room.  So, when she was five months old, we decided to get another OAE test.  She passed.  Another few months went by and she was growing and hitting all her milestones, but we still questioned her hearing.

At ten months we took her to a children's hospital for an ABR, Auditory Brainstem Response.  This is more of a gold standard of tests for hearing loss.  They had to sedate her and the test took about one hour.  When the technician had finished the test, she turned her chair around and said, "Your daughter is profoundly deaf and she probably has been since birth."

That day the children's hospital sent us home with an overwhelming amount of information.  That's when we started our extensive research on hearing loss.  My husband, being a physician, questioned whether Veronica would be a candidate for a cochlear implant.  We also knew a family whose daughter had a cochlear implant and attended an oral deaf school in St. Louis.  I phoned them immediately.

We later learned that the OAE machine at the local hospital was not properly calibrated and for two years every infant was passing its hearing test.  Every child in that time frame had to be retested.

A short time after we found out Veronica was deaf, we met with the director of the Moog Center for Deaf Education and immediately knew this was the school for her.  After careful research, a two-month hearing aid trial and guidance from the Moog Center, we decided on a cochlear implant for Veronica.  At fourteen months she was implanted with a Nucleus 24 implant.  One month after she was implanted the device was turned on.  A day of surprise for Veronica - the birth of her hearing.

It took some time for Veronica to actually speak.  We were eager to hear her voice.  The school said the words would come and to be patient.  One year later after implantation, activation and training from the Moog Center, she did speak her first words.  Veronica is now a spunky four-year-old.  She is constantly talking.  She loves music, and her speech is music to our ears.