Saturday, August 23, 2008

And then there was sound _____ #2

So, after the phone incident, I had a call in to the doctor. Tate has a pretty high pain-threshold, so I thought it possible that he might have an ear infection. The doc looked in Tate’s ears, saw nothing unusual, and suggested that he might be congested, and we should give it a couple of weeks to see if anything changed.

Really, I knew it wasn’t congestion, but figured that two weeks wouldn’t make any difference either way. At that point we were referred to our local university’s Audiology Department, for testing.

These are very fine people. They saw Tate three separate times, made it as fun and pleasant for Tate as they could, and even managed to do a non-sedated ABR test by having me bring him in at nap-time. (He’s a very sound sleeper!) While they did a thorough job of explaining the tests and results to me, I really didn’t comprehend just how much my little Tater-bug was missing. Next, we were referred to Children’s Hospital, in Seattle, and met an angel in disguise, our Audiologist, Kimberly.

Honestly, if there were some kind of award I could give to the people who have been the most helpful to us, Kimberly would get the first one! She was unfailingly kind, always patient, genuinely encouraging, and a font of information without being overwhelming or too ‘clinical’. She has a way about her that is completely professional, while making you wish she would move in next door.

When Kimberly met us, having already reviewed the results from Tate’s previous testing, she retested Tate twice more before ordering his first HA’s. I thought nothing of this, at the time, it was just hoops we had to jump through to get Tate what he needed.

Warning - Bragging Mom Moment:

She later told me why all the testing... Seems that his verbal abilities didn’t match his test results. As well as he could speak, he just couldn’t be that deaf. So she kept testing him.

He was that deaf.

I remember Kimberly playing a tape for us, of a man speaking. It sounded “normal” at first, but as the tape went on his voice became quieter and more distorted/muffled. The tape reached a point where she said, “This is how Tate hears.”

I was shocked. My son heard that badly?

So the journey began…

Here’s Tate, having impressions done for his first earmolds. He’s cooperative and patient, but puzzled by this strange experience.

And then, August 14, 2002… the Big Day!

Tate looks mildly annoyed, as if he were thinking, “What is it with everyone messing around with my ears?”


And then the “Ah ha!” moment.


leahlefler said...

I love the "AHA moment!" He's so adorable. I can't imagine what it must be like for him to have suddenly had access to sounds he had never heard before. Nolan got his aids at 4 months, so there wasn't a huge reaction (obviously, lol).

Kids are so amazing!

Laurie said...

Julie, Thank you for visiting my blog. I replied to your question but will answer it again here.

Hearing with a CI gave me more frequencies that I didn't hear or get with the hearing aids. Also, with the hearing aids, I probably "heard" at a moderate hearing loss level, missing many sounds. I was pretty successful with my HA's and learned to compensate for what I didn't hear.

Going from a CI is probably like going from 8-track tapes to digital. Also, with both CI's, I have normal hearing in the 20db levels.

Your son is so cute. He certainly would qualify for a CI if he fails his hearing and word comprehension tests.

Nice to meet you! I hope to read more of your blog when I have some free time this weekend.

Laurie in TN

Julie said...


Yes, it was an amazing time. I'll blog some more about his adjustment when I get a few spare moments... ha ha ha!


Your writing about your experience is immensely helpful. I suppose "they" haven't advocated a CI for him yet because he is doing as well as he is with the hearing he has. (You mentioned the hearing/word comprehension tests.)

I have to be cautious as a "bragging mom" ;0) I am VERY PROUD of my son. Most of the professionals who work with him have told me that he does more with the hearing he has, than others they have known.

But, I don't want to be haughty, as if all other HoH/Deaf people somehow just aren't trying hard enough.

Forgive me if I ever come across that way. I am just really proud of my hard-working kid :0)


Civilla said...

Wow! You guys have really been through something! Glad everything seems to be working out ok.
Thanks for your comment on my blog -- "can you see Martha folding the napkins into little swans?" I was "LOL". And yes, caring so much about the preparations that we neglect our guests is a good way to put it.

tammy said...

Hi Julie,
Thanks for leaving such wonderful comments on our blog. It's nice to have this "community" feeling with people you have never met, yet feel you know them so well!

I love the picture of Tate as they turn on his hearing aids! What a wonderful moment that must have been for all of you! I can't wait until Aiden gets that true "AHA" moment with his CI's! BTW - I love the name of your blog ... very creative!