Giving Thanks

I completely ignored the blog during the second half of November but I am done with my class for the semester and can get caught up here.

First, Joshua failed his fourth OAE (hearing screen) two weeks ago, which forced us to accept that he did have hearing loss. Chris and I both spent lots of time grappling with this knowledge. Second, I hosted Thanksgiving for one of my brothers and his family. This forced Chris and I to spend some more time unpacking (finally) our things. I also spent roughly a week getting ready for the big day, shopping for simple stuff like a table cloth (I realize now that I didn’t entertain much during the 8 years that I was a single parent). It was a fun day and sort of served to christen our house. Chris and I both felt, at the conclusion of the day, that this house was really turning into our home. It has a soul about it and we are pleased to be uncovering that soul, bit by bit. We, however, certainly felt the absence of Hannah on that day. She made it through the day in Japan without too much homesickness. I am grateful for that–now, she just has to make it through Christmas and then she’ll have made it through the big four events  (Josh’s birth, her birthday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas) away from home. If you read this Hannah, I am proud of you; keep on plugging.

Now, for the good news. Yesterday, we brought Josh to Children’s Hospital for an ABR. We were hoping to get Josh to sleep through the exam without sedation. I set out to sleep deprive him yesterday morning. I got him through the morning without a nap, but he fell asleep (go figure) in his car seat on the way to the hospital. Of course, when we were checking him in, he woke up. It seemed to be enough sleep to take the edge off. He has become very interested in his surroundings lately and so we waited a whole hour for him to get back to sleep. We appreciated our very kind audiologist who worked with us on this, giving us the time and space (even a better room) to get him to sleep. Before he was even asleep, she was able to repeat the OAE, which he failed again. She had much better equipment than the other two clinics where he received his earlier tests. It was much less of a hassle. I started wondering why we weren’t just referred to her much sooner (when it would have also been much easier to get Josh to sleep). Once asleep, she was able to administer the full ABR on the right ear. We were relieved to find that he only registered mild hearing loss in that ear. She also did a bone conduction test, which showed his inner ear was working well. This, and the fact that he had good hearing in the high frequencies, led her to believe that his loss might yet be temporary. She was only able to get through part of the ABR on the left side before Josh woke up. His hearing wasn’t as good on that side, but still registering in the mild range. The good news is that this audiologist (really, of the 4 we’ve seen so far, she was hands down the best) thinks there is a good chance that the loss is temporary on both sides. She still thinks there might be fluid behind the middle ear that is causing his current loss. The ENT will not do anything about the fluid at this time. So, for now, we wait. Josh will go back in late January to be retested. If there is still mild hearing loss, we’ll begin to talk about tubes. We don’t need to do anything further until then. This is a relief because I thought I would be spending my entire break in doctor offices. I asked about hearing aids. She said that Josh was hearing well enough to avoid hearing aids for now. If by six months, they haven’t been able to improve the hearing through tubes, they may consider hearing aids.

For now, we have been given back some hope that this might resolve. We are also rejoicing in the knowledge that sound is getting through to him. Now, when I tell Josh the noise a kitty makes, or what the dog says, I can rest assured that he is hearing me when he flashes me that big grin at the “meow” or the “wuff, wuff.” I give ever so much thanks for this. Thank you all for your prayers and good thoughts.

Let It Be

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4 comments
  1. Leah said:

    *fingers crossed* that it is just a mild conductive loss that resolves with time! If his bone conduction results are normal, it sounds like very good news!

    Our Nolan had a mild/moderate rising loss at birth (normal hearing in the high frequencies, about 40dB in the low and mid frequencies). His wasn’t conductive, though. He even used to have OAE present in the high frequencies! They’re gone now, though. Definitely follow up over time, and hopefully that fluid will clear out and you will be good to go!

  2. motherimperfect said:

    Hi Leah–

    We only were able to get the bone conduction results on the right side. He woke up before she could do the left side.

    He was as 35 dB on the right ear and 45 on the left. She explained to me that his hearing now was much like it is for me with ear plugs in. I wasn’t exactly sure why that doesn’t concern here yet. It seems like this might have merited some amplification. I guess if she has hopes that it will resolve, perhaps that is why she didn’t think hearing aids were needed.

    Incidentally, I have a 4-year old niece who was born without an ear on one side. The other side has been plagued by ear infections and fluid. She began speech therapy at three. When we saw her last spring, she was having the worst time trying to communicate with everyone and they were pretty sure she wasn’t getting much through. She finally had new tubes put in late last spring. When I last saw her a few weeks back, she was finally speaking beautifully. It was amazing how 4 months with one good ear had really cleared up her speech. So perhaps the audiologist is counting on Josh having at least one good ear at some point.

    I must say, however, we did have one inconsistency in that, at his last OAE, they hadn’t found any fluid and he still failed it. I wasn’t sure if her results were inaccurate. It seems that no audiologist has been terribly sure of the results with that instrument that is supposed to test for fluid.

    I guess, at this point, we wait and see what happens. We embrace the good news of yesterday, but still understand we didn’t walk out of there with a clean bill of “ear” health.

    Somehow, it seems as if a child with a major issue, such as hearing, shouldn’t have any other problems–ever. But they still do. There are no guarantees. My aunt’s nephew (on other side of family) was born hearing, but lost his hearing completely after coming down with meningitis at the age of three. Ahhhh, this is why it is said that having children causes you to carry your fragile heart on the outside forever more.

    I enjoy your posts, by the way. I think I need to get a blogspot blog as I cannot post comments on my friends’ blogs who have blogspt blogs. Nolan seems like such a sweetheart. I loved your recent post about him trying to fix the toilet during his nap time. Hilarious.

    Good cheer to you!

  3. Jenny said:

    Boy what great news to have right at the holidays!I know you’re probably resting a little bit easier. We’re praying that this will resolve itself soon and that Josh’s speech will come quickly.

    Happy Holidays!
    Jenny

  4. Leah said:

    It is something to definitely keep an eye on- Nolan’s hearing was very similar to your little guy’s hearing- he was only 40dB in the lows and then rose to normal levels by 2000Hz. After doing something called DPOAE (distortion product otoacoustic emissions) at each frequency, our audiologist could tell that while there were some present OAE in the high frequencies, they were absent in the lows. They didn’t run any bone conduction testing on him- the combination of the absent OAE, abnormal ABR, and normal tympanograms with no visible fluid told them he needed amplification. Obviously, he’s lost some hearing since that point in time, so it is good that we kept up with it.

    I would definitely keep on top of this (or get a second opinion from an independent audiologist). There are kids at Nolan’s audiologist who have a mild/moderate loss in one ear (unilateral), and wear a hearing aid for the one affected ear. At 45dB, he’s missing some of the “speech banana.”

    They can get behavioral results at about 6 months of age, though I’m surprised she didn’t recommend amplification. The good news, of course, is that he can “hear” you even if things are a tad muffled. I know our audiologist (who works in conjunction with the oral deaf school) will aid anyone with a 35dB loss or worse. Nolan’s hearing aids have multiple channels, so we can amplify the “bad” frequencies more than the “good” frequencies- he’s now 65dB in the lows and his good ear rises to 35dB- his hearing aids are programmed accordingly.

    I’ve heard that wordpress blogs are actually “better,” but I’m so technologically inept that I signed up for an easy-to-figure-out blogspot type.

    There is a really good parent support list at listen-up.org (all parents of kids with hearing loss- of varying degrees and causes).

    Nolan is being very “two” right now, lol!

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