Monday, October 29, 2012

But She Can Hear

Let me start this by saying I am truly 100% grateful that N's hearing impairment is relatively minor. I am grateful that her hearing impairment is the biggest health related issue our family has to deal with. I am very much aware how hard some families, some children, have things. That said, this blog is about my family, our struggles.

From the time N's hearing loss was definitively identified, people have argued with me about it. I've lost count of the number of (well-meaning) family members (my husband included) who would practically jump in her face, making loud noises, and then turn to me smugly as if they'd just proven me and our team of audiologists completely wrong.
yes, she is playing pinball - she loves it, even if she can't see the entire playing field
N is not deaf. She is hard of hearing. The louder you are, the better she can hear you. Her hearing loss is progressive. The higher the pitch, the louder it NEEDS to be for her to hear. Also, I think most people would flinch if someone were to unexpectedly jump in their face. I don't think it's proof of any kind in regard to her hearing. That can't be just me.

"But she babbles, so she's not behind in her speech." Well... she actually tested about 5 months behind in her communication skills. It's not huge, but it kind of is when your life is still measured in months and not years. N's babbling had been almost entirely made up of open mouth sounds. She's having trouble picking up on consonants.
N was recently tested with and without her hearing aids. There were some adjustments made, and I really believe her babbling has been increasing and progressing since.

At this point, the tests are much harder on me than N. It is hard sitting in a room, watching N play while sounds I had been 100% sure N would respond to (especially with hearing aids) have no effect on her (yes, that is with her hearing aids in). It makes her hearing loss more tangible for me. It also makes it more frustrating when no one else seems to understand there really is a problem.

Fortunately, my mother-in-law teaches special education (do they still call it that?) at the elementary level. She is well-versed in how slight the developmental delays can be at this age, and how they can grow exponentially over time if not addressed. She has been one of my biggest supporters in working with Early Intervention.
Yes, N can hear things. Yes, she still has a hearing impairment. Those things are not exclusive.
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  1. She's such a sweet little girl :)

    My grandfather is hard-of-hearing and hears low tones better. I always make sure that we're looking at each other when we talk. I don't want him to feel as though he's missing out!

    1. Those are definitely habits I try to keep when communicating with N. Although... those are also good techniques for communicating with toddlers/pre-schoolers in general, I've found.