Mississippi girl becomes one of the youngest patients in the wor - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Mississippi girl becomes one of the youngest patients in the world to receive cochlear implants

Rashaun Lane and Keaire Parker smile at their playful daughter Kadence Lane. Source: UMMC Rashaun Lane and Keaire Parker smile at their playful daughter Kadence Lane. Source: UMMC
Audiologist Dr. Victoria Kivlan talks with Kadence Lane's family during the cochlear implant activation. Source: UMMC Audiologist Dr. Victoria Kivlan talks with Kadence Lane's family during the cochlear implant activation. Source: UMMC
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Imagine getting the news your baby is going deaf and time is of the essence to decide whether her hearing will ever be saved.

The University of Mississippi Medical Center is giving the gift of hearing. Their doctors perform about 50 cochlear implants a year, about half of those with children.

Four-month-old Kadence Lane of Edwards is now sporting a new accessory of cochlear implants.

Her mom Keaire Parker's world was turned upside down in January. Kadence, two months old at the time, had her fever spike. The decision to drive to the hospital on icy roads was the start of a life-changing experience.

A referral to Batson Children's Hospital led to a bacterial meningitis diagnosis -- a common side effect is hearing loss.

"We did an initial hearing evaluation and found about moderate hearing loss in both ears," explained UMMC audiologist Dr. Victoria Kivlan. "The protocol after that is about weekly, we'll continue to do tests to see if that hearing loss progresses or if it stays stable."

A week later, it had changed to moderately severe. 

"The next day, I went back and within about 24 hours and Kadence had become profoundly deaf in both ears," said Kivlan.

"When I heard the word deaf in the same sentence as my child, it hit me," admitted Parker. "I was like no, there's no way my child can be deaf. Because nowadays, kids are pretty mean and I never wanted to as a mother have a child that was bullied for something that was out of her control.

Medically, there wasn't much time to waste.

"The inner ear fluid channels start to turn to bone," explained Dr. Jeff Carron, UMMC professor of otolaryngology and communicative science and an ear, nose and throat surgeon.

"I didn't have time to mourn over the situation," said Parker. "I had to think fast. Once they told me I could do the bilateral cochlear implants, I was on it."

But here's the thing, Kadence would be the youngest patient at UMMC to ever get the implant surgery and among the youngest in the world. She was three months and one day at the time of the surgery.

READ MORE: 3-month-old cochlear implant patient at UMMC among youngest in world

"One of the fortunate parts is the inner ear is actually adult sized at birth," said Dr. Carron. "So, the challenges aren't really in the technical aspect of the case."

They were instead the small size of her head, thin skull bones, and smaller blood volume. But the March 2 surgery was a success and she got her implants Monday.

She showed signs that she was recognizing sound. By the end of her appointment, she was turning her head and eyes toward the sounds in the room and even following voices as doctors and parents spoke.

"Changed forever," said Parker of that day. "I couldn't thank them enough for letting her be able to gain that experience so she could have a better life."

The audiologist says they start out on the conservative side of things. They'll be turning up the implants as time goes on. But they are pleased the see the kind of response to sound that Kadence is already showing.

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