Today we had our appointment at Hopkins to find out about Dakota’s hearing. I was so nervous and worried about her appointment all week, and today I was just ready to get there and get it over with.
They wanted her to be sleep and food deprived so that she would sleep during the exam, and we were able to keep her awake until almost exactly 10am when her appointment was scheduled. We fed her when she first woke up around 7:30am, and she was set until 10am so we didn’t have to make her wait to eat, thank goodness. Just as I started to feed her in the waiting room, the audiologist came out and told me she’d be ready in just a minute to take her back for testing. It couldn’t have been any easier. Dakota ate and fell right to sleep in my arms where she stayed the entire hour of testing.
The audiologist was wonderful and she did her best to make us comfortable. It really is quite amazing what Dakota slept through! She had to have probes inserted into her ear canals (more than once) she had to have her skin scrubbed clean before the electrodes could be stuck on (she had 4, one on her forehead, one right above her nose, and one near each ear), and then once everything was in place, loud sounds were made in her ears to see how her brain responded. It was crazy, but that little sweetie pie slept through the entire thing. It was like she knew I needed her to. I’m so thankful we were able to get the test done…but, the results weren’t the best.
It turns out that Dakota has some mild hearing loss in both ears. We aren’t really sure where this road is going to lead just yet, but we do have an appointment later this month with a pediatric otologist. At our appointment today, we learned that while Dakota does have some hearing loss, it is slight. She can hear us, even when we speak to her softly, but some of that is because we have her so near when we speak to her. At this age she is usually in our arms or in close range when we speak to her so she hears us just fine. As she gets older though, we may speak to her from across the room, and that may present her with a challenge. We learned that with mild hearing loss she may not recognize soft language sounds such as the “s” on a plural word, or the “th” and “f” sounds. And, if she can’t hear those sounds, she won’t learn to use them which then presents a speech delay/problem.
We’ll have to closely monitor her hearing from here on out and make sure she continues to respond to us the way she does currently. I guess my biggest worry, besides her having speech problems, is that she’ll have to wear hearing aids. Not in a vanity sense, but because I don’t want kids to have any reason to make fun of her. That may sound stupid, but I know that a child who wears hearing aids can be looked at differently. There is just such a stigma surrounding people that have to wear them, and really, it’s pretty stupid. I remember when we found out that Zoe had to wear glasses at 4 years old and I was concerned that kids were going to make fun of her for that. I don’t think anyone ever did, but I was worried they would…but, glasses aren’t as “different” as hearing aids are, so my concern about this is a little higher.
I’m really jumping to things here though, and in order to stay sane, I need to try to be positive and just move forward with the information I have.
- Yes, she has some hearing loss.
- Yes, we will have to monitor her hearing and do more testing.
- Yes, she is still absolutely beautiful and healthy.
I couldn’t love her more.