Apryl Hodge’s voice still tightens – and she tries to hold back sobs – when talking about her daughter Camdyn’s diagnosis. The signs of profound hearing loss were there from day one; Camdyn failed a newborn hearing test seven times out of eight. Later, she seemed to be in her own world. Much to Apryl’s dismay, the doctors, including hearing specialists, told her not to worry, insisting that Camdyn’s situation “wasn’t that bad,” Apryl says.
Everything changed when the Hodge family met Shani Goldgrub, Alyson Mellish and the rest of the Audiology team at Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego. Shani confirmed the diagnosis of profound hearing loss and instantly jumped into solution mode. All of the team members made themselves available, answering emails within hours instead of weeks. They recommended a cochlear implant and ensured that it could be placed quickly, so little Camdyn could “catch up” developmentally. Camdyn received the first implant last November, when she was 2.
“After that first month [of having the implant], she just started to soar. Her language skills just started to pour in,” Apryl says. “The cochlear has just been a miracle, absolutely a miracle. And the team at Rady Children’s has been another miracle.”
Camdyn received a second implant last summer. Heather Rose, an auditory verbal therapist at Rady Children’s, has been helping her gain full use of her hearing skills; she is also teaching Apryl and her husband how to help Camdyn listen and speak.
It took countless unproductive visits with dismissive doctors before the Hodge family found an expert who took their concerns seriously. While Camdyn’s diagnosis was a long time coming, her recovery has been remarkably fast. Thanks to the cochlear implant, Camdyn has a happy, healthy outlook, and her parents hear things in a whole new way as well.
“Her speech is beautiful – you should hear it,” Apryl says with a smile.
Originally published November 2012