Tuesday, May 10, 2011


What do you get when you put together two waterproof diving bags, a swimmer's ear band, a swim cap and cochlear implants? Pure magic...

Tonight, for the first time ever, Bella could hear in the water while swimming. Using her back up implants, we used the set up that many other cochlear implant recipients. have used. We secured her two back up processors in military grade diving bags (aLokSak bags) with a swimming ear band to keep them in place, and covered with a long haired swim cap that allowed for extra room on top. It was a bit of a process to get all the pieces in place and I have to say when it was all said and done she looked a little like a being from another planet with a big bumpy head. But I knew the value was right around the corner...

There are moments that only parents of other special needs children can truly understand. I felt like tonight was one of those times. A lot of the other swimming parents were excited by her being able to hear in the water, but it was different. For me, it was truly like she had been activated again. I had butterflies in my stomach the whole way to swimming. While I didn't shed tears during her swim team practice, my eyes were dewier than usual. My level of emotion was heightened and I was on edge as I watched her experience sounds for the very first time.

Her coach signaled to me several times during practice with the "thumbs up" signal and other signs about how pleased she was with Bella's ability to hear in the water. She was able to correct Bella's positioning with simple words like "flatter" or "straighter arms", on the spot. The result? Improved technique in just one evening!

So what did Bella think? Well, it was a lot for her to take in. She was surprised about the examples the teachers gave about how to do things. She said they told for one stroke to pretend she was climbing a ladder. Before she could only watch and gain some instruction by lip reading. Having the actual auditory instruction made a huge difference. Another surprise? Bella said, "You know when you blow bubbles under the water? Those make NOISE!" The little things we take for granted. She was also surprised that you couldn't hear people talking above the water when she was underwater. She thought it would be quiet, but she thought it was something she would be able to hear. Finally, the splashing of her arms in the water as she swam was louder than she expected. I'm sure she will discover more things over time.

Was I nervous to try the "waterproof" set up with her back up processors? Yes! But I was happy when I took them out of the bags and their was not one hint of water or moisture. Bella hearing in the pool? Well that was priceless....


  1. This is a great story and thanks for sharing your blog. I looked at your link on the side and noticed that Bella was pretty young getting her CI's. Our Natalie was 9 1/2 months and done bilaterally as well so we are hoping for some great progress.

    You can find our blog here:



  2. Melissa-

    Thanks for stopping by! It is always nice to meet other moms with CI kids. Natalie sure is a cutie!