Kennedy is just one example of the many brave kids whose lives have been changed thanks to a surgery performed at Children's Hospital. Kennedy was born with cytomegalovirus (CMV), a common virus that can cause birth defects in unborn babies, including hearing loss, as it did in Kennedy’s left ear. Her health and hearing were monitored regularly, and when she was a year old, an intensive hearing test revealed she was beginning to lose hearing in her right ear as well.
Kennedy successfully underwent two surgeries with Dr. Keiko Hirose, pediatric otolaryngologist, to receive cochlear implants in both of her ears, which consisted of having the internal device placed under her skin behind each ear with electrodes implanted in her inner ear.
Kennedy, now four years old, has learned to interpret sounds through the implants, which has also enabled her to talk, and even whisper. She loves to quote Scooby Doo. Kennedy enjoys going to school at the Central Institute for the Deaf and making many new friends. She also loves playing at the All-Inclusive Playground at Tilles Park that St. Louis Children’s Hospital built in 2006, because the slides were built not to conduct static electricity, which can erase the mapping on Kennedy’s implants.