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November 8, 2004

Logan's Journey Into Sound

From: WXIA-TV - NE Atlanta,GA,USA - Nov 8, 2004

Marc Pickard

Michelle Knutson says she knew something was wrong.

Months before the birth of her fourth child, she just knew he wasn't responding to sound like her other child had.

She was right. Logan was born deaf. Michelle and her husband, Robert, felt heartbroken.

Soon after, they decided to try something that, if successful, would place Logan in one of the most exclusive groups in the world.

" this point we think life is over," Robert said.

Michelle said, "Devastation."

Robert said, "Yeah, you don't know how he's ever gonna be normal. What he's gonna be able to do? Everything we won't be able to do with him."

When Logan Knutson was born he could not hear own his own cries, nor the voice of his mother -- nor a note of music. He was trapped inside of himself.

Robert said, "He would scream at a pitch that he would have to be able to fear, feel it in his skull and in his jaw.

"To us it's just mind-blowing, the sound...that that's the only way he'd communicate with himself, scream so loud to be able to feel it."

At 15 months old, Logan became the youngest patient at Children's Health Care of Atlanta to receive a cochlear implant.

Like a mini-telephone, it turns sound into electrical impulses and sends them to the brain, which hears them.

Three weeks after his operation, Logan went to an audiologist to have his cochlear implant turned on.

Michelle said, "As soon as she turned it on he cried because he heard sound that…he didn't know what it was...and it startled him."

Logan heard sound for the first time. He seemed frightened – and amazed.

Michelle said, "We were crying...and he would turn his head to every little sound."

If one cochlear implant functioned well, then perhaps two would fare better. In October, Logan received his second.

The combination of his young age – he's only two – with the fact that this is Logan's second cochlear implant makes his case a rare one in America.

Children's Health Care of Atlanta surgeon Wendell Todd says a second implant will allow Logan to hear more clearly, to better locate the source of the sound, to have a back-up system if one implant fails. And, one more thing…

"It provides better appreciation of music," Robert said.

It could be said that Logan's connection to the world of sound is fragile, at best. But, the technology that created the connection is sturdy.

Now, young Logan hears and speaks almost as well as any other 2-year-old. With the help of auditory therapy, Logan should hear and speak without difficulty and, perhaps, develop a love for Stravinsky.

With his two cochlear implants from Children's Health Care of Atlanta, Logan is what doctors call bilateral. He is one of only several dozen people in the world with a bilateral implant.

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