Trip and Preston’s Story

In 2001, my husband Warren and I were ecstatic to learn that we were expecting our first child.  We welcomed Gary Warren Walsh, III (Trip) into our hearts on January 28, 2002.  After failed hearing tests at the hospital and an audiology evaluation, it was verified that our baby was born profoundly deaf.  He would need to wearing hearing aids for at least one year, attended weekly sessions in auditory verbal therapy (AVT) and have a CT scan to verify he had all of the appropriate bone formations in order to be a cochlear implant candidate.

Just after his first birthday, according to protocol, Trip underwent cochlear implant surgery.  Following four weeks of healing, he laughed and cried upon hearing his first sounds as his processor was activated.  Our son could hear!  We continued therapy sessions, and I talked to him constantly to help his brain learn to recognize sounds.  Our thirteen month old son was equivalent to a newborn baby in speech development.  He eventually caught up with his peers and now and at age 13, has no speech delays.

In 2004, we learned that there was to be a second child in our family.  We mused over how it would be to have a hearing child, but that was not to be.  Preston Doyle Walsh arrived on June 12, 2005, and had the same genetic defect for hearing as his brother.  Luckily, BabyNet of South Carolina provided hearing aids for Preston but our insurance company denied coverage for his implant surgery. Many phone calls and tons of paper work later, we signed with a new insurance company who ultimately covered Preston’s surgery.  At ten months old, Preston became the youngest Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) cochlear implant recipient.  Although Preston had the added condition, apraxia of speech, he has made the same awesome progress with hearing and speech as his brother.

Processors require continued costly maintenance. Also, the boys attend yearly audiology visits, which add to their costs.  Unfortunately, as great strides have been made in cochlear technology, costs have continued to rise.  The Joyful Noise Foundation was established by Gary Walsh in honor of his grandsons, Trip and Preston, to help fund cochlear implant surgeries and ancillary maintenance costs for families who need financial assistance.


My primary advice to parents facing the challenges involved with having a deaf child is getting timely assistance with aiding your child and being persistent when seeking help and advice.  Leave no stone unturned in seeking available services.  Keep researching, calling, asking for help; don’t ever take “no” for an answer.  You will have to fight diligently and tirelessly for your child to ensure that he/she gets the best available help.  Your child’s gift of sound is worth every effort!