Sunday, February 28, 2010

More hearing lost

After a six week stint of very little activity, Julia and I had a big Thursday.  She had magic ear school and an audiologist appointment.  Then in the evening I had to go to a transitional meeting to switch her hearing support services from preschool to kindergarten.  It was an epic day in the context of our typical home-bound winter schedule.

It goes without saying that I had contracted a cold earlier in the week.  I do, in fact, get sick each time I leave my house.  I was buzzing on Mucinex with ironic drowsiness mixed in.

Mentally prepared for a quick audiologist appointment where we filled out a form and talked a little, I was already surprised that we were having a hearing test in the booth.  The appointment was to order an FM system for our home since the county will take theirs back this summer.  I hadn't prepared Julia to do work.  I got the stink eye.

An attempt was made at getting Julia to wear the ear insert do-hickeys that she hates.  She got her favored headphones back in pretty short order.  After each word the audiologist wanted her to identify she turned to me and said, "these are hurting me!"  I can't imagine how they hurt her, but the audiologist went back to the headphones.  Even imaginary plight can be distracting from sound identification tasks.

Her picture identification is usually strong and steady.  I've watched her do this test numerous times and she's a pro.  The audiologist says a word, Julia points to the picture, they move on.  This day, it was WHAT?  HUH?  WHAT IS SHE SAYING?

Then it was time for the test where Julia is required to feed a toy animal when she hears a sound.  It was exciting this time because a new bunny needed fed realistic looking carrots.  Previous tests have used cardboard cutout foods.  Julia kept turning around and asking me if I heard the sound.  "I didn't hear the sound.  Did you hear the sound?"

I didn't hear the sound.  It is not played for the benefit of the audience.  There was no way to communicate this to my child when she wasn't wearing hearing aids and had big headphones over her ears.  I did some strange pantomime and willed her to finish the test.

We went in to get an FM and came out feeling pretty certain Julia has lost 10-15 dB of hearing across the three middle frequencies.  This means we're looking at a 70 dB loss in the middle frequencies.  Prior to this appointment we were 50-55 dB at all frequencies.  Her hearing aids were reprogrammed.

By the next day, Julia had the cold.  Her hearing was still very poor even with the added amplification.  And even though she'd had a tympanogram and her ears were clear the previous day, I still can't let go of those 10 dB.  I'm still hoping they'll come back in the spring.  I'm still hoping it's ear wax.  I can't let go of the denial even though this isn't the first test that has revealed this extra loss.

By the next week our lives returned to normal.  Her hearing seems okay.  I'm now waiting on the report to see if it will say "fluctuating" or "progressive" or maybe just "severe".  None are words I wanted to see.


Other posts on childhood hearing can be found on the hearing loss page.

12 comments:

  1. Hoping for the best for your little girl. I am glad her hearing seems ok! :)

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  2. So sorry you are having to deal with more worry and stress with her hearing. I hope the only things they have to tell you are positive!

    Also, sorry I haven't been by to visit here for a while.

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  3. Hopefully it is just the cold and wax build up! I will be thinking about you both!

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  4. I haven't been following for long so you may have already covered the topic of Sign Language...even as a supplimental communication route to the hearing aids you are now using? Is this an option for you and your family?

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  5. Gosh! Challenges like that with your kids can be so hard!

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  6. I'm so sorry to hear of this. No one ever wants their children to go through life with something that is coined as a "disability." A good friend of mine (I think having been friends since 2nd grade -- and being 37 years old now qualifies her as a life long friend) has a daughter who is severely autistic and she, too, had to go through this with the hearing aids, tubes, you name it. It's been challenging for her but as she ages... it WILL get easier -- even if the hearing loss progresses. You will all learn to cope with whatever you're dealt because... well, we just have to! :) We are moms and we will make everything okay. She's created in His image and whatever will be... will be.

    I can't say that I wouldnt want to think that the onset of the cold may have had somethign to do with it, too, however.

    I'll keep you guys lifted in prayers and hope that the next check up comes with good news!!!

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  7. There is nothing wrong with being hopeful my friend:) Hugs.

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  8. i think a 10 db loss is w/in the margin of error of the test? But, if she seems to be benefiting from the extra gain just go with it. My son was 55 db in right ear and 60 db in his left for a while across all frequencies. he just turned 2 (we discovered the loss at 15mths.) His last booth test put him at 65 and 75 respectively. I freaked at first but then I realized, what is the worst that can happen: he gets an implant. I would just monitor it closely b/c you do not want her to go underamplified or wait too long to get a CI (if that is something you are for)if it came to that and she has missed out on some language opportunities.

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  9. I know one of the first things that happens to me when I get a cold is my ears plug up. I always wait for that *pop* that lets me know I'm on the mend. Hope that's all it is with Julia!

    Yeah, strange what can hurt kids. When I was little it hurt to get my toenails hurt. My mother didn't understand why, and neither did I. I could see she wasn't doing anything that should hurt, she wasn't cutting them short and she was incredibly gentle, but it really did actually hurt!

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  10. I hope it was fluid or the supra-aural headphones (results are different than with inserts but kids don't like inserts). Either way, she'll succeed with such a great mama fighting for her!

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  11. My son has mild hearing loss in the left ear, which is intensified at times by wax &/or fluid. At our last appt. he flatlined in both ears. His hearing loss is very functional, he wears no aids. We have a appt. tomorrow to try to deal with the fluid.

    I hope y'all can get better news at your new appt.

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  12. New like this is never easy to get, but when it sneaks up on you like that it's even harder. Keeping you guys in my thoughts.

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