MILBANK, S.D. (KSFY) — According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), 2-3 out of every 1,000 U.S. children are born with hearing loss in one or both ears.
However, thanks to technology, cochlear implants are paving the way for members of the deaf community to hear. That includes 3-year-old Quinn Bastian from Milbank, South Dakota.
He is one of just a handful nationwide recently implanted for unilateral (or one-sided) hearing loss, something his family never thought possible.
Tuesday, Quinn’s implant was ‘turned on’ to sound for the first time at the USD Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.
“We found out he was deaf on the one side with screening in the hospital when he was born. Wonderful they could detect it so early. We found out at six months he was deaf for sure on the one side,” Quinn’s mom Melissa Bastian said.
Quinn was later equipped with his only option, a device that provided some hearing sensation by vibrations to the bones. It was known as the BAHA.
“We started walking down that road of new technology talking about what’s available. His parents were open to exploring some cutting-edge techniques. We had the conversation of using that ‘dead ear’, if you will,” USD Clinical Supervisor Jessica Messersmith explained.
And then came time to consider the cochlear implant as a possible option. For many years, the cochlear implant was only an option for a limited amount of qualified patients.
“What really makes Quinn unique is he doesn’t have that severe-to-profound hearing loss. He has normal hearing in one ear. He’s one of those few across the country, only a handful, who have received a cochlear implant with this specific hearing loss with normal or near-normal hearing and profound in the other ear,” Messersmith said.
Quinn underwent surgery as part of the device was implanted behind his right ear at Sanford Hospital on April 8.
Almost three weeks later, it came down to the moment of truth. He was turned on by the audiologist and reacted well to the sound through his new device.
“It’s amazing to watch him hear out of that ear. He’s been pretty good to change his head. Neat to hear him react from the bad side,” Bastian said.
Even though Quinn’s hearing loss condition isn’t as severe, the opportunity to have that balanced hearing on both sides now will make a world of difference as he grows up.
For more information about the cochlear implant, you can visit National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders website.