Young siblings hear first sounds with cochlear implants on the same day

Baelin and Aveon Poole, ages 11 and 10, are siblings who had back-to-back cochlear implant surgeries on the same day at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. Their implants were also activated on the same day.
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Baelin and Aveon Poole of Buford are only a year apart and as close as can be.

In fact, they both had cochlear implant surgeries at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta on the same day.

"Hopefully today is the beginning of great things," said their mother Jeri Poole. 

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It is rare that both children have suffered progressive hearing loss at about the same rate.

Baelin, 11, was diagnosed with bilateral sensorineural hearing loss as a baby.

Aveon, 10, was diagnosed with the same hearing disorder when she was two years old.

They have other siblings with no hearing loss.

Baelin had cochlear implant surgery on his right ear two years ago, so he knew what to expect the second time around for his left year.

It was Aveon's first implant, and it was on her right ear.

Children's Healthcare documented their surgeries as doctors went in behind the ear to secure the internal part of the cochlear implant, which includes a thin wire and small electrodes leading to the inner ear. 

Weeks later, 11Alive News was there for the next step, when the siblings were fitted for the external part of their implants.

It sits behind the ear and picks up sounds with a microphone. 

"It'll sound really weird. It might sound like robots or Mickey Mouse or staticky," said audiologist Kelly Murphy. "It's very different from how our ear uses a hearing aid. With a few days or weeks of practice, the brain gets used to the stimulation, and it starts to sound more normal."

"I can hear it turning up," said Aveon in the moments after her implant was turned on for the first time.

She said it sounded like a beeping robot.

"It's going to take months of therapy to get the success Baelin has had with his first one, but I think it's gonna be great," Jeri Poole said.

After Aveon, it was Baelin's turn to listen with his new implant.

"The new side sounds louder," he said. "I'm just not used to it."

Baelin will also have to adjust to his second cochlear implant, but he knows what to expect.

As close as these two already are, this next part of their journey will bring them closer.