Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Coming Soon... a Magic Ear Book

It's been on my list of goals for a little too long to compile the stories on this blog into an anthology for parents of kids with hearing loss. I've been storing up the middle school stories too, bad FM boots and channel surfing (FM transmitter-style). Batteries and ear mold dysfunction, it's all still happening. It's just, happily, more of a background topic.

My camera roll is full of ear mold pictures as we're still having trouble
getting a proper fit.

This fall, I'll be working on organizing our journey into a cohesive narrative that will be available in print and Kindle additions on amazon.com by the end of the year.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

A Pittsburgher's Guide to Wrightsville Beach, NC

We headed to Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina for our family vacation this year for the second time. We returned so Julia could go to Indo Jax Surf Camp for Kids with Hearing Loss. The weather was perfect and we had a fabulous time. This guide is a mix of reviews and activities from our two summer vacations to this destination. It seems most of my Pittsburgh contemporaries head to OBX each summer, but in case yins want a change of scenery here's my....

Pittsburghers' Guide to Wrightsville Beach

Where to Stay

There are plenty of accommodations on Wrightsville Beach: Holiday Inn Resort, Shell Island Resort, Blockade Runner Beach Resort,  the Surf Suites, as well as many condos and beach house rentals.
We rented a condo for the week in 2014.
In 2015, we chose the Shell Island Resort.

All suites are ocean front. The bedroom window overlooks the inter coastal waterway. Gorgeous views all around. Shell Island is also home to adorable wild bunnies that hop through the dunes.

Getting There

Early in our planning process we decided it was too expensive/inconvenient to fly to Wrightsville Beach. It would cost around $1000 for the three of us, plus a rental car or being stuck without a car. 
There are two routes to consider when driving from Pittsburgh to Wrightsville Beach, I-79 or I-95. We had a good experience driving to Orlando on I-79 last November, but I-95 is 50 miles shorter per the Google maps.
2014 - We left at 7am Saturday morning and headed for I-95. Of course, we'll never really know if this was worse than I-79, but from Washington DC to Richmond, VA we were in some of the worst traffic I've ever encountered. For 60 miles we alternated between 35mph and a dead stop. After stopping for about an hour and a half for fuel, bathroom breaks and lunch, we reached our destination at 7pm Saturday evening.

2015 - We drove down on Sunday. Traffic was much lighter and the trip took nine and a half hours just like the good Google told us it would.

Things To Do

Wrightsville Beach is an island beach town with no shortage of things to do. 

Swim in the Giant Wave Pool (it's free)

Wrightsville Beach looking toward Johnnie Mercer's Pier
I was asked multiple times during our twelve hour (2014) journey "Are we going to have a pool?" 
"Yes," I said. "There's a giant wave pool."
Mom is so fun on long car trips. 
Hours of fun in the ocean!
The water was blue and cool enough to be refreshing on the hot days while simultaneously feeling warm on the cooler evenings. We swam and played mostly on the stretch between access #24 and #27. There were shells to collect, an occasional dolphin to spot, and endless waves to jump over. I asked my husband to take a few pictures of me in the water as proof that I get in and play too. Life was better before I was aware of my ocean face. Still trying to get over that shot. I lived my lifelong dream of building what I felt was a spectacular sand castle. Once, I rode the boogie board all the way into the shore. It was a blast. I probably made a weird face.

Wrightsville Beach Farmer's Market

We're not fond of restaurants, so we shopped at one of Wilmington's Wal-Mart Super Centers on Sunday morning. It was just like a Pittsburgh Wal-Mart except you can buy beer and wine right in the store and the cashier took twenty minutes to check each person out due to her desire to carry on a full conversation in her slow southern drawl.
I refrained from buying produce at the Wal-Mart because each Monday there's a farmer's market from 8am-1pm. We bought six ears of corn, three peaches, two zucchinis, a bag of grape tomatoes, and two crab cakes for $20. Everything was delicious.
As a grocery shopping aside, there's a chain called Harris Teeter with stores on just about every corner. We shopped a second time during the week after running a bit short on food. Harris Teeter reminded me of a Market District store, sort of high end. A little pricey.

Battleship North Carolina

The World War II Battleship North Carolina is moored across from the Wilmington boardwalk. Tickets for the self-guided tour were $12 for adults and $6 for kids age 6-11. It took us about two hours to walk through, but due to oppressive heat and proximity to lunch time we sort of hustled through the last quarter of the tour. Truly a floating city, the ship had every kind of workshop to repair and fabricate parts, a tailor, a cobbler, a post office, giant washing machines, a bakery... just the fact that they fit everything into it was astounding. Imagining a life at sea on this thing really brought new meaning to that "greatest generation" moniker given to my grandparents.


We cooked at our condo most of the time, but we did take in the food scene a couple of times. The Oceanic Restaurant is the only ocean front eatery in Wrightsville Beach. The second story has windows on three sides offering breathtaking views of the water. The food was fair. I had a fried seafood platter which I anticipated would be something really spectacular. It was the same as what we get in the 'Burgh.
Slice of Life Pizza was the best looking option on the GPS as we rolled into Wilmington on Saturday night wanting a quick dinner. Our plain cheese pizza was $14.99. The crust was super thin and the sauce was heavily seasoned. I loved it. We had one piece left over after a famished family feed.
A few nights later we tried Vito's Pizza, a little shop within walking distance of our condo. It was much cheesier than Slice of Life. I didn't like it as well, but it was quick and close.
The Ocean Grill was by far my favorite meal of the whole vacation. Situated on nearby Carolina Beach, the second story was laid out much the same as the Oceanic, but the decor was more pleasant. The lunch menu was much better. Tim and I both had Mahi Tacos, their best seller. It was everything I want out of a meal. I had my mahi mahi fried. It was topped with shredded cabbage, salsa and guacamole. 
View from the Ocean Grill, Carolina Beach. The Tiki Bar on the pier looked really cool if you're into that kind of thing.
The Original Ice Cream Stand was within walking distance of our condo. They have Hershey's ice cream. It was yummy!

Johnnie Mercer's Pier

Everyone on Wrightsville Beach uses Johnnie Mercer's Pier as a reference point. It costs $2 per adult and $1 per child to walk out on the pier. You can also fish from the pier. Rates are posted on their web site.
Johnnie Mercer's Pier from above and below.
When we walked out on the pier we saw two little silver fish caught and were informed that we'd missed a small shark by a few minutes. I'm not upset about missing the shark!


Julia wanted nothing more than to buy a hermit crab at the beach. We found crabs first at a store next to Johnnie Mercer's Pier, but it was closing time and we didn't want to rush her selection. It turned out to be a good thing because the Wing's Beachwear store offers a much better deal: buy the cage, get the crab free. This ended up being a $12 savings.
We spent one rainy evening at Independence Mall. It had lots of out of business stores. Really reminded me of home.

North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher

Spoiled by the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher was nothing to write home about. I actually feel like we missed a wing or a floor. We consulted the floorplan before leaving, so strong was our sense of aquatic disappointment. For an extra $3 each we went into their butterfly exhibit. We always enjoy hanging out with butterflies.
All in all, it was nice to get out of the heat for a bit and the drive to Kure Beach was beautiful. On the way home we stopped at Carolina Beach for that awesome lunch at the Ocean Grill.


It was surf camp that brought us to Wrightsville Beach in 2014 and watching our daughter catch wave after wave caused my husband and I to have completely different feelings toward the sport. 
I felt confident that any attempt by me to stand on a moving object in the ocean would result in pulled muscles or sprains of body parts yet unknown.
My husband? Well he can tell you in his own words. "Watching the surf camp got me pretty amped to get wet myself, so I decided to rent a foamy. Trying to paddle out in the morning in the blown-out, messy surf, I got raked over and caught inside. Having not perfected my turtle roll, I decided to give up until the tide came down some." "In the afternoon, I finally got my stick to the outside. I was pretty noodled by then but couldn't give up. I caught two waves and made a total Barney of myself before coming back in."
I like to call this one "Man Contemplates Ocean."
Tim rented his board from Sweetwater Surf Shop (again walking distance from our condo). It was $15 for a half day. He's unharmed, well versed in surfing lingo, and hopefully got the surfing bug out of his system.

By 2015, I'd gained some confidence or who knows what happened to me. We took a family surf lesson with Indo Jax. I did it. I would do it again!

Next time I'll hire a photographer to take a picture of me actually surfing. I'm not sure this shot counts as definitive proof.

Fireworks by the Sea at Carolina Beach & Britt's Donuts

Thursday was our last night at the beach and there's no better way for a Pittsburgher to cap off any event than fireworks. We headed back to Carolina Beach to take in their Fireworks by the Sea and Boardwalk Blast. Look out Zambelli family! We'd heard a few things about Carolina Beach over the course of the week. One thing was that the ocean is "half Bud Light" because this is the vacation spot for people from the deepest recesses of South Carolina. The second was we absolutely must have Britt's Donuts.
We're a rather particular family when it comes to donuts, preferring only certain kinds of Donut Connection donuts. The line for Britt's was ridiculously long, like miss the fireworks long. We got ourselves some Krazy Kones and headed to the beach to stake out a spot. The cones were okay. I had a homemade ice cream sandwich that was pretty gross. I threw half of it away.
On the beach, we waited about thirty minutes with some hard core hoopies (except in the south I suppose they're rednecks) before finding out the fireworks were cancelled. We headed back to the donut line. It was twice as long as the first time we checked it out. And that was how we knew our vacation was over. Time to go home.

Butterfly Release at Airlie Gardens
We didn't have time on our first trip so I was sure to plan on stopping by Airlie Gardens. On Tuesday afternoons they release butterflies into their butterfly pavilion. It was hot walking around, but the park is huge and definitely worth the trip.

I love a big tree. Airlie Gardens has a spectacular (and very old) one.

Masonboro Island Reserve (Spoiler Alert: I give this a thumb's down)

Masonboro Island is an uninhabited island reachable only by boat. During our 2014 trip I couldn't work out how to get us there and what we would do. This year I bit the bullet and purchased tickets for a kids "Eco Cruise" offered by Wrightsville Beach Scenic Tours. I read through the FAQs on the web site after spending $95 for the three of us to take the tour. I had quarters for parking ($6.50 worth) and Julia and I wore our tennis shoes because it said NO FLIP FLOPS. I read reviews and even heard from a local woman that "Captain Joe" is the bees knees of boat drivers.

We arrived for our 9am tour and found that parking was not $2/hour as listed on the web site, but $2.50/hour. Obviously this messed up my quarter calculations. To make a long story short, everything on the web site was wrong. Wear water shoes to Masonboro, just use a credit card for the parking, and don't expect Captain Joe to be anything special. The guy that skippered our boat was a crusty turd of a man.

The island itself wasn't that special. The uninhabited beach at the tip of Wrightsville Beach (to the left of Shell Island) is spectacular, we found more shells than we did on Masonboro, and it didn't cost us $95 to get there.

Wrightsville Beach Museum of History

This is a small cottage that showcases the history of the island. It was free and the historian was very friendly. It would be a great first stop to find restaurants and activities for your trip to the island.

Getting Home

2014 - Since I-95 was so horrible, we went home via I-79. It took twelve hours including our hour and a half of fuel stops, lunch, bathroom breaks, and one episode of violent car sickness. It was not fun.

2015 - We took I-79 home on Friday. Plus we dose Jules with dramamine before any long car trip since the great upchucking of 2014. The day of the week seems to be a major factor in the success of this trip. No problems on Friday. Ten hours from Shell Island Resort to our front door.

The Stuff We Didn't Do

We hit a lot of the things we missed the first time on our second go round. We still never made it to , and the "loop." We also forgot to look for the Diminishing Republic  AGAIN as we drove on and off the island.

Monday, February 16, 2015

How to Change Hearing Aid Battery Doors

Every summer, part of our end of school ritual is to change from the FM battery doors on my daughter's BTE hearing aids to the regular ones. This used to be a big deal when she had her Phonak Naida aids because the FM door didn't match the pink hearing aid. She recently got a set of Phonak Sky aids. The doors and boots match the hearing aid, so I doubt she'll be reminding me to make the change this summer. Still, the battery door change is a good starting point for what I'm hoping will be a series of how-to videos.

The tool I'm using should have been included in the pack with your hearing aids. If it was not, a thick sewing needle will do the trick.

Swapping the battery doors is pretty easy. Be sure to keep track of that little pin because losing that would surely be cause for a trip to the audiologist's office. The regular battery door makes the aid more water resistant so it's a good idea to switch to it when FM isn't being used regularly.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Ear Hook "Headphones" for Hearing Aid Users

We gave up on Julia privately listening to games or music for quite some time after hitting a frustration limit with her Phonak iCom. It became too much of an event to get that finicky device to sync with the hearing aids. I resigned myself to a life of listening to secondhand Taylor Swift and Minecraft villager grunts.

Then I encountered a middle schooler with hearing loss. Unable to be separated from her iPod, even during classes, the older girl uses a simple solution: t-coil ear hooks. No buttons, no Bluetooth, no high technology, just reliable access to her music.

Julia using her ear hooks as she plays Lep's World.

We ordered Music-Link ear hooks online for about $40. Julia's hearing aids had to be programmed at the audiologist to enable the t-coil. When the t-coil is active the FM receivers are not. Her default program is FM + Mic for school and a second program activates the t-coil. So there is one button to push on one hearing aid to put the whole setup into the correct program for the ear hooks.

The important part is that it works. She hangs the ear hooks right alongside her BTE hearing aids and plugs the 3.5mm stereo plug into whatever she's listening to. It is a foolproof, worry-free system.

Best of all, it looks just like she's wearing ear bud headphones. There's no odd silver necklace like with the iCom. She could walk into Middle School and look just like all of the other iPod zombie children.

Someday soon, that will probably be the ear hook's most attractive feature.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Ear Play

We were first introduced to the "ear play" by an educational audiologist when Julia was in Kindergarten. At the beginning of that first year, the audiologist spent about thirty minutes with the class. She explained hearing loss and then had the kids act out the parts of the ear with props. It was a big hit with the kids. Julia's Barbie dolls played school for a few months after that. They always got a presentation on the workings of the ear.

Julia is going into fourth grade this year and for the first time I'm not even going to send the hearing loss story books with her. She tells her own story. She's also an expert on the parts of the ear. We've adapted the ear play and created our own props so we can teach kids about hearing. For typically hearing kids we point out why its important to protect the hearing they have. For kids with hearing loss we can talk about the causes of deafness. It's an important topic for everyone and there's no better way to start the conversation than with a bit of hands-on exploration and acting.

The Props and Role Assignments

The Sound

The sound is quite important to the play. Represented by a ball, the child holding the sound has to pick the sound: a word, a stomp, a clap. Any appropriate noise will do, but this is important because the sound does have to make it all the way to the brain.

The sound can be any ball. Tennis ball size up to a softball will work well depending on the size of your other props.

The Pinna

"Pinna" is the fancy name for the external part of the ear. It's job is to catch the sound and so we represent it with a baseball glove. After all of the parts are assigned, the first kid will say the sound and toss the ball to the second kid. Each child passes the ball down the line and acts out their function as a part of the ear. The pinna is easy, they just have to catch!

This is an adult softball glove. A child's baseball glove would work too.
This is an adult softball glove. Any ball glove will work.

The Ear Canal

Next comes the ear canal which is where ear wax is made. The ear canal also houses that pesky ear hair. I like to engage the kids in a conversation about those ear extras and ask whether wax and hair is a good thing to have in your ear. They always say "no" and they are always wrong. Wax and hair protect the inner ear from debris (Julia loves to say bugs that might crawl right in). The pinna passes the sound to the ear canal so the ball should fit through the canal.

This is a Quaker oatmeal container with both ends removed, covered in white copy paper, and colored by Julia. At a library program a little boy approached me after the play and told me that being the ear canal was the most fun he'd had all day. So it's good stuff, the ear canal!

The Ear Drum

So far the sound has just been getting directed into the ear, but now the ear drum, in addition to separating the outer ear from the inner ear, vibrates. The kid with the ear drum can hold the ball and beat on the drum or some like to beat on the drum with the ball.

This ear drum is an Utz cheeseball container. I've also used a spin drum handcrafted with a dowel rod and a portion of a Quaker oatmeal container. If you're really fancy, you might have a real drum. Anything that you can bang on works.

The Small Bones

These are the very smallest bones in the human body and they vibrate. The small bones child should shake all over when they get the ball. Commonly called the hammer, anvil, and stirrup, you can get the kids to take a stab at the scientific names.

Using a Google image search you can find many pictures of the small bones. I chose this one because it's pretty clear and simple. I attached it to half of an old file folder. Lamination would be a nice touch.

The Cochlea

Our play skips a couple of parts: the Eustachian tube (because we don't want to go throwing the ball down there) and the semi-circular canals/oval window (because I'm not training ear surgeons). The oval window should have been included as a round picture frame or even an embroidery hoop, but I just didn't put it in. So we move on from the shimmying small bones kid to the mysterious cochlea. In the mysterious cochlea those vibrations are converted into electrical impulses by millions of tiny hair cells. When the cochlea kid gets the ball they can act mysterious or in many cases, just hold the ball until it's time to pass it off.

Julia crafted this cochlea with two and a half turns out of pipe cleaners. I tied a bit of yarn around it to make it stay coiled.

The Auditory Nerve

Carrying electrical impulses to the brain, the auditory nerve is the last prop in the play. One or two kids can hold either end of a piece of string or yarn.

The Brain

The lynchpin of the whole thing is choosing an attentive brain. This person must carefully listen to the sound because when the ball finally gets to them, it's their job to repeat the original sound. The whole process is just no good if the brain can't make sense of it!

The Play

Once all of the actors and props are explained and in place, guide the ball on its journey and help the kids remember their action.

Additional Discussion

The ear play is a great springboard for further discussion about protecting your hearing and the different types of hearing loss. Including some additional discussion, this play takes about fifteen minutes. Lots of great resources for typically hearing kids can be requested free of charge from the National Institutes of Health Noisy Planet campaign. It's also a great activity to accompany reading a book about kids with hearing loss. Scholastic has a printable worksheet (shown below) that makes a great takeaway. When cut out and folded it makes an accordion style ear picture.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Surf Camp for Kids with Hearing Loss

It must have been about a year ago that I first learned of Indo Jax Surf Charities from a Facebook post. The Wilmington, NC based surf school provides a series of surf camps for kids with hearing loss, visual impairments, autism, and other challenges. Given Julia's interest in surfing, I began stalking their website for information on this summer's camp which is offered free of charge.

In January the schedule was posted and I began planning our vacation to Wrightsville Beach. I need not have been so diligent (I might have placed a few phone calls) about securing Julia's spot in the camp. The owner, Jack, told the crowd of parents that it's very important that the surf school never has to turn kids away. Later this summer, 60 kids will take part in the autism camp. And I was worried that all the spots were going to be filled!

Julia and fourteen other kids with varying levels of hearing loss gathered at Mallard Street beach access #10 for several two hour long sessions in the water. Instructors outnumbered participants and it soon became apparent that there was no need to worry about sending our little girl into the ocean. These guys, already having spent about eight hours in the ocean, were as attentive as Tim and I are with our own kid. As soon as Julia was off the board her instructor, Matt, was diving toward her. There was never a moment when any child was left to struggle even for a second. Parents walked back and forth on the shore, following their kids as the waves carried them down the beach.

Julia's surf instructor, Matt, helping her secure her ankle strap.

Pure joy!
Surfers have long believed that theirs is not just a sport, but a transformative life event. Conquering the ever changing ocean instills a confidence unmatched by other pursuits. I can see it in my daughter, her pride in standing up time after time. She's living a life without limits and it's never more evident than when she's out on the water. As inspiring as it was to watch my own child, Tim and I joyfully watched the other kids conquer their own challenges. By the end of the week, every kid was riding waves and their smiles were infectious.

How You Can Get Involved

Wrightsville Beach is a great place for a family vacation. If your son or daughter has hearing loss and has ever thought of surfing or even if it's been the furthest thing from your mind, check out this program. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity! Camps for kids with visual impairments and children with hearing loss were sponsored by the Helen Keller Foundation and Alert Tile. Individual tax deductible donations are accepted through the Indo Jax Surf Charity web site or by mail.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Waterproof, but not entirely swimmable hearing aids

Julia loves to swim. We first put her tiny baby toes in the water when she was four months old and she's been a fearless diving ring seeking missile of a child ever since. Her first swimming lessons were already scheduled when her hearing loss was discovered. From that Water Tot program on, we've been removing her hearing aids for swimming and carefully protecting them around other sources of moisture.

Baby Julia's first "swim."

The Phonak Naida aids aren't quite as sensitive as the first pair of hearing aids Julia was prescribed. These ones are classified as "water resistant" which gives her the freedom of wearing them when her hair isn't completely dry. Any spray park, pool, or water balloon fight action has to be done unaided and communication becomes a major issue.

We've been looking forward to waterproof hearing aids. Technology improves quickly and we started seeing cochlear implant kids swimming with their devices last summer. We were jealous.

Then we started seeing ads for waterproof hearing aids.

Our audiologist advised that the claims of these new aids were perhaps a little exaggerated. Phonak Nios H20 hearing aids require a lot of maintenance after every exposure to water. I don't feel comfortable with my daughter swimming in her every day hearing aids. We needed to buy a second pair and had some difficulty figuring out how to do that for a pediatric patient.

So we waited.

This spring, a new round of research ensued as we anticipated swimming season. My husband found Siemens Aquaris aids with their IP 68 rating which he fully understands because he's an engineer. This time around we even found a pediatric audiologist that would fit Julia for the aids. So this spring we embarked on a six week trial with waterproof hearing aids.

Julia swimming in her Siemens Aquaris Hearing Aids on what just so happened to be the last
time they really worked properly.

We don't have them anymore.

From the beginning, the aids were plagued by frequent shut downs. We took them off of Julia and dried them, opened the battery door, and messed with them to get them to power on again. Sometimes they would be down for 15-20 minutes. On a swim trip with her Girl Scout troop, Julia took it upon herself to open the battery doors. In the water. She eventually decided she was happier without the hearing aids and swam for most of that day without them.

The audiologist (not our regular audiologist) indicated this was not normal performance for the instrument. We sent the aids back to Siemens for repairs. They replaced all of the guts and reported that there was evidence of water getting inside from opening the battery doors in the presence of water. Surprise! We started a new six week trial and were instructed to pat the vent on the bottom of the batter door to dry it. This would allow the battery to breath and allow the hearing aid to turn on again. There was to be no opening of battery doors with wet hands or in the pool.

This experience with all of the shutting down led to extensive research about hearing aid batteries by my husband, the resident scientist. He learned that the size 13 batteries we've been using for all these years are zinc air. This means the batteries need air to perform a reaction that creates the power needed to run hearing aids. We noticed for the first time ever that size 13 batteries have a little pin prick hole on the top. The sticker that comes on new batteries is keeping this hole closed, preserving the battery's power until it's ready for use. Some manufacturers recommend removing that sticker for a few minutes before putting the batteries in hearing aids. We've never had a problem with that, but a waterproof hearing aid isn't letting the battery breath when it's under water. Tim developed the hypothesis that these aids wouldn't shut down if we could use something other than a zinc air battery. He found rechargeable batteries that are nickel metal hydride and don't need air to work. We had hopes this would be our fix.

So we tried again, very carefully, to swim with these hearing aids. The audiologist told us that Siemens does not endorse, recommend, or support the use of any rechargeable batteries in these hearing aids. Tim put the rechargeables in and the hearing aids turned on and worked for a whole day on dry land.

Problem solved?

No. That first time was some kind of fluke because on subsequent attempts, the hearing aids wouldn't power on with the rechargeable batteries. At least not every time. It was intermittent.

So that was a bummer, but we got one day at the pool with zinc air batteries that was pure bliss. Everything worked perfectly. Julia could hear, it was relaxing and blissful and everything we dreamed it would be. The aids shut off about four times, but we patted the special spot dry with a towel and continued about our day.

And that was it. Our one great shining moment. Julia got to swim three more times with the waterproof hearing aids. Shutting down became the least of our worries as constant debilitating feedback and distorted sound became the chief complaints. We found ourselves spending more time messing with the hearing aids than having fun in the pool. Julia decided that she was better off with no hearing aids at all while swimming.

The Siemens Aquaris aids packed up and ready to be returned.

Now we wait again for a hearing aid that is not only waterproof but entirely swimmable. The Siemens Aquaris aids most certainly are waterproof. You can dunk them in water and they still work flawlessly. Julia just spends too much time under water (they advertise these to be used for 30 minutes of submersion up to 3 feet deep) and perhaps she would do better if there was a pair of waterproof aids available in what they call "super power." At Julia's level of hearing loss, these aids were at full gain in the high frequencies. That means they were turned up as loud as they could go. Perhaps that had something to do with the performance issues.

It was a disappointment, but we learned a lot. I feel confident things are moving in the right direction. If not, maybe Julia won't always be so fond of being under the water. She might some day conquer a swimming pool the way I do: jump in and then shoulders up for the rest of the day. These would be the perfect device for that kind of pool trip.