This month we get to meet Mimi of Woven by Words. Mimi's son was diagnosed in 2009 with hearing loss.
My son, Doodle (7 1/2), has had various health issues from birth. Nothing outrageous or out of the ordinary, just out of the ordinary for our family. When he was born he was slightly tongue tied, medically known as Ankyloglossia. His doctor had no concerns about it and Doodle had no issues nursing. When he was 1 1/2 we found out he had an umbilical hernia. I think he was about 3 when he had surgery for the hernia and while he was under they fixed his tongue tie.
A couple of years later Doodle had numerous strep throats and it was decided by our ENT that he needed to have his tonsils and adnoids taken out. The recovery from the surgery took a bit longer than we expected, in that he was very nasally. He talked through his nose for about 3-4 months and it gradually went away.
In 2009 he failed his hearing test at school. He was sent to the ENT who set us up with the audiologist. She was spectacular, the audiologist. Doodle just thought she was awesome. We did a few different testings and they determinded he had hearing loss in his left ear. Not enough to make the matter urgent and she left the decision up to me as to whether we should get him a hearing aid.
I decided we should go for it because I want my kids to have every opportunity to succeed and if he was going to miss something at school because he couldn't hear, that wasn't acceptable to me. We went to the manufacturer's website so he could choose the color of hearing aid and he went with the hair color he has, which is blonde. He has a Latitude 8 Mode II from Unitron. I wish they would have some cool designs for the hearing aids so the kids could be "cool" with them.
I wasn't sure how Doodle would do with the hearing aid, but I wasn't too concerned. He's pretty self-confident, but you never know how a child will react to possibly being seen as "different". I didn't want to make him self conscious in a negative way about it so I made sure to tell people to tell him how "rockin'" his hearing aid is, to use the word "cool", etc. I wanted to build him up and help him feel comfortable with wearing it. Let me just say, we have some great people in our lives!
Doodle thought it would be so cool to have a hearing aid because in the movie Up the old man was able to turn his hearing aid off and not have to listen to anyone around him. It was tough to break it to him that his hearing aid wasn't coming with an "off" button. Let's just say, he was bummed.
He's still adjusting to the comprehension that he will always have a hearing aid. A couple months after he had it he wanted to "test" himself to see if he'd gotten all better. He took his hesaring aid out and ran into another room asking me to talk so he could hear me. I was talking and he couldn't hear me. I felt sad for him, because I didn't realize he didn't understand that this was a "forever" thing.
School is going great. He has been a great student and I'm sure the hearing aid will only benefit him as he grows up. He hasn't needed any classroom help or assistance. He sits in the back of the room because the hearing aid is doing his job, which allows him to do his...be a studious student!
The only thing I have to say to other parents is, this doesn't have to be seen as negative. We all have "something" in our lives. Sure, my son hasn't lost complete hearing so it's not the same as someone who has profound hearing loss. Would I feel sorry for my son? Absolutely, but it's not the end of the world. They have to adjust and we have to adjust. It's so imperative for us to have a positive outlook so that our kids pick up on it. I also say we're our kids biggest advocate! I called the school as soon as I found out Doodle would be getting a hearing aid. The school counselor was willing to go into the classroom and talk about hearing loss or about bullying in general (not focusing on my son in that regard). The principal was willing to help out with any help we might need with this transition.
If you don't understand something, need more information, or have any concerns, ask questions! Go see the ENT or audiologist...again. This is your child's health and you are in charge of it. Do you feel like you need a second opinion or your child might need some different testing? Then I say go for it. There's nothing wrong with a second opinion. Do research. Get in touch with hearing aid companies. Try to connect with people who have gone through something similar. Remember, you aren't alone in this journey.
Thank you so much for highlighting our experience in this journey of hearing loss! You can find me at Woven by Words.
We are our child's biggest advocate. Thanks so much for sharing your story, Mimi!