On the first of September, 2014, we met Alberte for the first time. Three days later, we proudly showed up to the hospital for the mandatory hearing screening. And Alberte did not pass the test. In other words, she didn’t hear like other children.
In the days that followed, a lot of tests were carried out. How much or how little could she actually hear? We sat for hours in the sound-proofed room, clinging to the hope that she could hear. That it was all a mistake. But it wasn’t. We receivedthe message: Alberte has a severe hearing impairment.
It was hard to absorb the news, our thoughts circled in every possible direction. Here we were with a child, who was the same child as yesterday, but suddenly everything had changed.
The day we were struck by lightning.
We’ll never forget it. We had to say goodbye to the dreams, hopes and expectations you naturally have when you become a parent – and had to create some new ones, in a world we knew nothing about. To describe this feeling, the piece “Welcome to Holland” fits quite well.
Alberte got regular hearing aids when she was 8 weeks old. We faced a lot of challenges with the hearing aids and Rikke heaps of headbands. But nothing worked. The challenge was that the microphone kept getting blocked and screeching. We looked for other solutions, but couldn’t find anything that suited us because, technically, it didn’t exist yet.
Alberte underwent surgery with the advanced hearing aids, cochlear implants, when she was 11 months old. Her hearing was too poor for her to benefit enough from ordinary hearing aids and develop a spoken language. But we still had the same challenges of keeping the device in place. Alberte’s little sister Ella was born a month and a half after Alberte underwent surgery. We knew there was a risk that she would have the same challenges with her hearing. And she did. But this time, we were better prepared.
Hearing aids, Cochlear implants and AVT are a big part of our lives. That’s the main reason why CIHA came into being. We want to pass on all the things that have worked well for us.
We want to make it easier for children (and their parents) to keep their hearing aids in place on their heads while they are young, and we want to make it easier for both new and experienced parents to play in a natural and attentive way while using AVT techniques.
We have developed a headband that gives parents peace of mind. It stays in place and keeps the CI behind the ear. It’s important for us that it does stay behind the ear, as this provides a better direction of sound and because we hope that the bigger kids will be able to do without a headband later on.
We’ve created language-play guides for all the products that have a language-stimulating potential. This makes it easier for parents to get started with language development and acts as motivation – it makes sense to play!
We hope that CIHA can save parents a lot of worries and make the approach to hearing loss and language activities more fun and palatable. It doesn’t need to be rocket science if you follow us at CIHA. We’ve done the hard work for you!
Rikke, Jens, Alberte, Ella & Hugo