Dr. Sie thinks Evan is a good candidate for a cochlear implant! Jeremy and I are still in a little bit of shock--both of us thought for one reason or another, he would not be a candidate. The decision would have been made for us, and we would move on.
Evan's degree of hearing loss (severe on one side and severe to profound on the other) qualifies him for a CI. Dr. Sie reviewed Evan's MRI from December with us. Evan's cochleas are missing a turn on each side, but the portion that is missing doesn't contribute much to hearing sound. She confirmed he does have the hearing nerve on each side, and the facial nerve is where it's supposed to be to the point it exits the skull. In looking at the vestibular system (provides sense of balance), he only has one set of semi-circular canals and a tiny bud of a second set. Normally, three are present on each side and we had been told before he had two sets. All the more amazing he can walk now.
Dr. Sie told us even with a CI Evan would still almost certainly be non-verbal (we already knew this), but that it would be realistic to expect with the implant he could hear sound in the range of speech as well as enviornmental sounds. She stressed the importance of continuing with ASL, as this would be his primary expressive language.
Because Evan has tubes in his ears, he would be at increased risk for serious infections like menigitis. Also, there was a chance that the surgery could lead to increased facial weakness (from damaging the facial nerve during surgery). Dr. Sie felt both these risks were small in comparison to the potential benefit of the CI for Evan.
Jeremy and I have a lot to think about now--we have to make the decision.