Yes, James can now hear!!!! And yes, he hears pretty much everything you and I hear, just not as loud. The volume is set very low in order to give him time to adjust. No, he has no idea what any of it means yet, nor does he really seem to care or notice that he hears. This is normal and it will take a few weeks for his brain to begin to recognize and respond to the sounds. The good news is that he doesn't seem bothered by sound. Imagine going from absolute silence (which you and I can never truly experience!) to a noisy world full of voices, dogs, phones, music, sneezing, running water, rain, crinkling paper, clomping feet, car horns, etc. It's a very overwhelming thought, and some kids can get quickly overstimulated and stressed out. James is so easy-going, though. The only thing that shows us he's noticing something different is that he has been having a hard time sleeping the last few nights. Otherwise he is his usual happy self, just with some added headgear. :)
On Wednesday we went to the audiologist, our dear Dr. Emily. First she put the processor on James's head and hooked it up to her computer. She played a whole bunch of beeps and different tones that went directly into the processor through the cable. When he heard a sound he was supposed to put a ring on a peg, or flip a disc into a dog (these are the same kinds of games she played with him during his previous hearing tests). He did both of those things at all the right times, all pretty much without any expression whatsoever. After that she turned on the microphones so that we could talk to him and he could hear us. I had tried to not have any expectations, as every kid reacts differently, but he is so animated all the time, I really thought he would have a bigger response. He did a lot of nodding, like he usually does, and at one point he did cry. He sat stiffly on my lap for a bit too, but it didn't take him long to go back to his normal self.
I have been gradually increasing the volume, and he only asks to have it taken off occasionally. He's not a big fan of the headband I had to concoct in order to keep it on his little head though! All in all I think he's doing extremely well, and I hope that somewhere in his brain are the memories of the sound he used to hear as an infant. Whether or not this will make a difference in how quickly he learns to process sound, we don't yet know. But in my unprofessional opinion, it has to count for something!!
I'd really like to show you the video of the big moment, but neither blogger nor youtube wants to load it! So sorry!!!!!