Category Archives: Audiology

Staff Spotlight: Will Mellon


Hi, my name is Will Mellon and I wanted to share a little bit about my experience growing up with hearing loss. I was born profoundly deaf in 1992 to two hearing parents. Unfortunately, my hearing loss was not diagnosed until I was a year old. At the time I was born, it was not mandatory to do newborn hearing screenings, so many children who had hearing loss were not diagnosed at birth. It wasn’t until roughly 1999 that most states in the US required newborn hearing screenings. Luckily, being the youngest of four, my parents noticed that I was not developing spoken language like my older siblings. When they took me to a doctor, I was diagnosed with a profound hearing loss bilaterally.

My parents had to make a difficult choice between a more typical deaf experience with sign language or a newly emerging technology called a cochlear implant that could give a profoundly deaf child access to sound. Cochlear implants had only been developed and approved by the FDA a few years before my birth, and research was still underway on their effectiveness as an intervention. The early research was hopeful and showed good indications that with rigorous intervention after the surgery, the device could give children access to the world of sound.

I received my first cochlear implant when I was two, being the youngest child implanted with the device at John Hopkins University Hospital at the time. With many years of speech therapy and audiological testing, I was able to use the cochlear implant to hear and develop oral language like any other typical hearing child. I could communicate with the rest of my family, and like my siblings, I went to mainstream schools, instead of specialized school programs focused on students with disabilities.

When I was sixteen, I received my second cochlear implant. With two devices, I was able to hear even better than before and had a much easier time locating where sound was coming from.  After high school, I attended Skidmore College, a liberal arts college in New York with a challenging academic program paired with engaged professors. I had a fantastic time in college and graduated with honors as a double major in Psychology and History. Since then, I have worked full-time at Chattering Children as a research and clinical assistant in the audiology department. It has been a rewarding experience to give back and help children with hearing loss, just as speech and audiological professionals helped me when I was growing up.  At Chattering Children, we have the same goal as the speech pathologists and audiologists when I was little: to help children with hearing loss succeed and flourish.

It’s Summer Time!

School’s out, you will be going to the pool and the park with your child, and you’re not sure the best way to maintain your child’s hearing aids or cochlear implants in this hot & humid DMV climate.

Here are a few tips and tricks to equip you for summer time:

Electronic Drying Kits – Uses heat, desiccant and moving air to take out moisture. Daily use, especially during the summer months, is recommended.
Ear Gear – acoustically transparent covering for hearing aids and cochlear implants. These are great for keeping sweat and dirt away from the devices. There is currently a 25% off sale running through June 30, 2018.
Water Wear (Cochlear Implants Only)Cochlear, Advanced Bionics, and MED-EL each have cases that fit their cochlear implant processors so your child can wear their device in the water. Contact your child’s cochlear implant manufacturer to order.
Retention Clips/Headbands – There are many versions of clips and headbands to secure hearing devices for better retention. Some of our favorites are the Bebop Shop, Ruby Bands, and SafeNSound Clipz.

Food for Thought
– If you are planning any vacations near bodies of water where you cannot see the bottom, please be aware of your child’s loss and damage warranty (just in case!). Be extra vigilant and use a safety clip to attach it to a swimsuit or shirt to improve retention.
– If you will be traveling by airplane, the Transport Security Administration (TSA) does not require the removal of hearing aids or cochlear implants during the screening. Please see the text below from the TSA website. – When traveling, be sure to store extra equipment in a safe place such as a hard case to avoid equipment damage. A small dry-aid kit may be beneficial.
– If traveling overseas with rechargeable batteries, do not forget to bring the proper adapter plug, as many devices come with international plugs in addition to the Type A standard used in the United States.  Remember to bring disposable batteries and the disposable battery rack as a backup in case the outlets are not working correctly or the appropriate voltage.
– For other helpful tips, our audiologists have also collaborated with The River School’s Parent-Infant Program about preparing for summer. See their blog post here:
– Feel free to contact the clinic if you have any specific questions regarding your or your child’s devices.