Children with hearing loss have a "hearing age" which is the time that has passed since receiving amplification. Julia's hearing birthday is today. Her hearing aids are two years old.
The months leading up to our big day when the audiologist finally dispensed hearing aids were the toughest I've experienced as a parent. We still had a lot of denial. We had to push back Julia's ABR test which was the one thing holding up the hearing aids. I worried that every passing day was going to adversely impact her ability to catch up to typically hearing kids.
When we got to the audiologists office on April 23, 2008, I was anxious to see what Julia's reaction would be. I had decided that the first words she'd clearly hear me say would be "I love you."
By the time the hearing aids were in and turned on, I had forgotten about memorable first conversations. My little girl sat stock still with her little knuckles turning white as she grasped the arms of her chair. She was afraid.
It was the first time in my life I listened to everything. I heard a fan. A chair squeaking.
The audiologist pointed out that these things had never been audible to Julia before. The refrigerator running would be disproportionately amplified by the aids. It would be really loud for her. Background noise that I never noticed would be loud and scary.
Before we left the office she'd already tried to repeat "father". I forgot to tell her "I love you" until we were on our way home. Tim and I could tell right away that the world was going to be a lot different for our child.
We've accomplished everything I'd hoped we would in the time since she got her magic ears. You'd never know by talking to her that she's only been hearing well for two years. She's an amazing little girl.