Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Introducing "D"- the oldest
Since I now know how to post pictures, I thought it might be fun to introduce the kids, and tell you about their hearing.
D is our oldest- we 'discovered' her hearing loss when she was 3-ish. I say 3-ish because we had suspected that she wasn't hearing as we thought she should for awhile.
We took her in when she was 18 months, and our Pediatrician sent us to the State Health Department for testing. We knew nothing about what tests should be done, etc., so we didn't really know what to ask for. They did tympanograms (basically to see if there was fluid in the ear(s), which would be a conductive form of hearing loss), and then they put her in a huge soundbooth. They did VRA testing (which means they had her listen to noises at different frequencies, and she was supposed to look in the direction the sound came from. If she looked the right way there was a little monkey w/ cymbals......full-proof testing- HA!) She just kept looking from side-to-side, hoping to get to see the adorable little monkey, while I was wondering what the heck they were doing. They were happy to tell us that she passed. O.K., If you say so.
We went home and figured we were being first-time, worry-wart parents. By age two, she only said 4 words. I told her Pediatrician that we felt like something was not right- he looked in her ears and diagnosed her w/ "Glue Ear" (thick fluid blocking off her eardrums). He directed us to an Ear Nose & Throat doctor, who put tubes in, and told us to come back in several weeks to see if the fluid was gone. At that time I enquired whether we should do a follow-up hearing test, and was told it was not necessary (this is where all parents should follow their instincts). Finally, he sent us to the Children's Hospital for Speech Delay- they couldn't get us in for 4 months.
Sorry, this is so long, but I think we were so mishandled that I like to share the story so other parents can learn from our mistakes :) By the time we finally went in for her Speech test, she was one month shy of her third birthday. The Speech Pathologist asked if we had checked her hearing, and I mentioned my frustration- Voila! Next think you know they fit us in immediately for an OAE hearing test (basically a screening test, that now many hospitals are doing for all newborns). Something that definitely should have been done at 18 months of age by the State health department. The testing showed that most likely D had bilateral hearing loss, probably in the severe range. Next thing you know we are scheduled for a sedated hearing test called an ABR. Sure enough, she had bilateral, sloping, moderate to severe loss. She got her hearing aids three months after her 3rd birthday. To make a long story short- she is now almost 11, and was caught up in terms of speech by her 4th birthday. She has one hearing aid, and one implant, and does really, really well in school (well......we won't count Math, but I'm not sure that's a 'hearing' issue :)
I could go on and on about what a frustrating time that was for us, but I think you all get the picture- :) Just never discount those maternal 'gut instincts'. I wish I wouldn't have!