Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Growing up hard of hearing: Our buddy, Alex

Julia and I first met Alex a couple years ago. He was part of what we called "Magic Ear School," a hearing impaired classroom put on by our county's early intervention program. We got to know Alex, his mom, Tina, his dad, Rich, and little brother, Ethan while standing outside the preschool classroom.

Alex, now 5 1/2, wears bright blue hearing aids.

Julia is constantly asking me what I'd wish for if I found a magic lamp/wand/star. One day she said, "I wish there was just one sound I couldn't hear and everything else I could hear with my ears just plain."

"Wouldn't you just wish to be able to hear everything?" I asked.

She thought about it for a while. Then she says, "no, I wouldn't wish for that. If I didn't wear hearing aids I wouldn't get to go see my audiologist. I wouldn't get to play with Alex."

Playing with Alex is that fun.

I asked his mom, Tina, some questions about their experiences and learned more than I ever could have in the preschool parking lot!

When did you find out Alex was hard of hearing?
We discovered Alex hearing loss at age 3 1/2.

How did you come to the decision to get him hearing aids?
We decided to aid Alex after a time period of him complaining of his right ear bothering him and ringing off and on. We had made a trip to the ENT and audiology for a hearing test. At the time he had fluid and infection and was going to get a 4th set of tubes in both ears and get his adenoids out. A month after that surgery we were to come back for a check of his ears by ENT and hearing by audiology (all taking place at Children's Hospital). At this point in time his hearing test showed the same result as a month earlier before the surgery and it was then decided to aid Alex.

Alex is in kindergarten this year. How is that going?
The first year of school has been good. It took some time at the beginning of the year to get Alex's hearing support services set up because we sent him to a private school. We had to dual enroll Alex in the public school district as well as his school. The public school provides Alex his hearing support services through the county's educational services and support division.

Alex seems to have transitioned well into Kindergarten overall.

Soon Tina and I will be parenting first graders. I just can't emphasize enough how wonderful it's been to meet and talk to other parents of kids with hearing loss. Thanks for being interviewed, Tina!

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