Sophie's Story

It has been said that everything an adult needs to know can be learned in Kindergarten.

Share everything. Say you are sorry when you hurt people. Play fair. Clean up your own mess. Put things back where you found them. Wash your hands before you eat. Flush.

At the kindergarten for children with hearing impairment in Vienna, there are also plenty of new lessons to be learned, especially for grown-ups. Many of the children who attend this school, like five year old Sophie, hear only with the assistance of a cochlear implant (CI).

“I remember our first visit,” says Susanne, Sophie’s mother. “A teacher called to the children [wearing CIs] and they all turned around. I felt so relieved.”

Susanne recalls wanting to get “answers to her thousands of questions.” At the hospital, surgeons recommended that Sophie receive a cochlear implant. For her parents, this was the first time that they had ever heard of a CI.

“I was sceptical,” says Susanne. “I didn’t believe that it would work as well as it does.”

Sophie was born without fluid in her inner ears. She has never heard a sound without her cochlear implants. The diagnosis was made early during a routine hearing screening, but according to her parents, the results of these tests were inconclusive.

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