Monday, January 10, 2011

Tommy knows...

Since my last blog, I begin the denial portion of this grieving process. I had my mom bring Tommy in to my office so I could retest him. Of course I came up with similar results. I just needed to test him myself. One thing that triggered my denial was that my mother, his teacher, his speech therapist told me that they do not "see" the hearing loss. Mark and I both notice the hearing loss and have for a few months. I will always question when the hearing loss began if I could of or should of diagnosed it sooner. This will always haunt me but the truth is that Tommy's speech is age appropriate and he is just as "smart" as his twin brother. There was no indication before the last new months that he nother more than chronic OM.

Also, the day I tested Tommy, I told him about his hearing loss and that he would be getting hearing aids. He smiled ear to ear and said "so I'll be able to hear again". I almost burst into tears. He seems pretty accepting and excited about the hearing aids.

I also told Liam about Tommy and his hearing (since Tommy can't hear our laptop at home). Liam turned to Tommy and said "it's OK Tommy, I have hearing aids too. They are just in my heart!". I have no idea what this means but it sounds super cute and super sensitive to the situation. He keeps saying that when the topic comes up. Maybe Tommy understands it. LOL

Also, since Tommy was so excited about the hearing aids I went ahead and made his earmold impressions. I just have to place the orders, if I ever could make a decision.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A New Year, A New Challenge

I am starting up my blog once again to help me and maybe someone else out there going through a similar challenge. I come with this problem from an interesting perspective. Here is our situation.....

I am an audiologist and I now have a hearing impaired child.

Just typing these words bring utter tears to my eyes. I want to say that I know this could be tons worse. He does not need a heart or a kidney what he needs are hearing aids. I never thought my emotions would be so mixed up and intense. I do this work on a day to day basis. I deal with these issues in other people's lives every day. What I am learning in this process that I know everything and I know nothing all at the same time.

I will be updating this blog with my emotional baggage in this process, with the process Tommy goes through, with working through the audiologic decisions I will make, with the reaction of family and friends and all that encompasses the hearing impaired world.

I am not going to go into much detail on his hearing history other than to say that Tommy passed his newborn hearing screen. He developed chronic otitis media and had 2 sets of tubes. Of course while he had active infections, his hearing was poor but after the first set of tubes his hearing appeared normal. He just had a second set of tubes placed and we finally got an accurate haering test and he presents with a moderate flat sensorineural hearing loss. I can second guess my process a zillion times but i believe his hearing loss has been a gradual diminishing masked by all his ear infections.

So audiologically, which hearing aid do I as an audiologist choose for my son. I have heard a few opinions ranging from "Karen, pick which hearing aid you are most comfortable with" to "Karen, stay out of this decision and fit the hearing aid that the audiologist who will fit Tommy uses most". Wow, 2 experts, 2 totally different views.

It wouldn't be bad except that my friend who will be fitting him uses a totally different manufacturer than I prefer. To get specific, my choices are Phonak or Oticon. The advantages of Phonak is that it is a smaller instrument, it is the choice of my friend doing the fitting, they are well known for pediatric hearing aids. The disadvantages are that I don't feel comfortable with their products, I have never had great success with them, I am not in agreement with their sound recover rational in a hearing loss like Tommy has.

Oticon on the other hand has the advantage of it is my preferred choice of hearing aid manufacturers (but I fit adults not kids), they have a line of hearing aids just for kids although their product is larger and I like their fitting rational of actually amplifying the high frequencies.

When I explained these choices to Mark, he thought it was a no brainer that we go with Oticon and I am leaning that way right in this moment. There are a few other considerations, I have to weed through like the school FM system and what I can get the manufacturer to do to help me with the cost.

I'll keep you updated on my decision.

I have called the school and they seem more than helpful in helping obtain the FM system for Tommy.

So these are these logistical things I have been dealing with and getting these decisions made are helping me.

One thing you may be thinking is what does Tommy know....right now we have not told Tommy anything. We will sit him down today or tomorrow before we go to have his earmolds made and explain to him as best we can about what will happen.

We are fortunate that our niece Allison has a best friend, Jordan who is hearing impaired and wears hearing aids. Tommy knows Jordan well and loves her and knows she has hearing aids. He also knows that Papa wears hearing aids. I am hoping this aids in his acceptance of his hearing aids.

I know so many people with far worse problems than this so I don't want this to feel like a "poor me" type of blog. It will be my therapy, my outlet, and my peace of mind.