Our Family’s Journey with Hearing Loss Part 1

Julia a few days old

Most of you know our oldest, Julia was born with hearing loss.  When she was born she failed her newborn hearing screen, but they reassured us that it happens all the time and it is just because she had fluid in her ears.  They sent us home with the name of an audiologist and told us to have her checked again in a month to be sure.  Our first month with Julia was, to put it mildly, difficult.  So, we never thought twice about her hearing until the day we had her retested.  We were so unconcerned, that I went alone and didn’t even try to get Dan or my mom to come with me.

The test is called a BAER, and they put nodes on their head while the baby is asleep to test brain wave patterns.  They can get amazingly accurate details of their hearing at many frequencies and decibel levels with this test.  So, I held my baby while we did the test.  Most of the time focused on how excited I was that she actually went to sleep (I never thought we would get there!).  I didn’t know anything of what they were learning until after the test was done and we went into Lisa’s office (Lisa Mancl has been our audiologist from the beginning and is one of the many blessings in our lives).  She wrote some things down that I couldn’t see and then very gently told me that my baby had hearing loss.  She showed me a detailed graph of her hearing loss and the sounds that she could and couldn’t hear.  She wasn’t actually deaf, but had mild-moderate hearing loss she told my quietly.  I just stared at the graph in shocked silence.  I didn’t cry (although I am now).  I didn’t question (although I have many times since).  I just stared.  I held my baby.  I wondered if she had heard me all those times I told her I loved her.  Would she ever hear me tell her how beautiful she is?  What did all of this mean for her?

Our journey since that day 6.5 years ago has been one filled with joy, sorrow, struggles, blessings, and so many amazing people.  It is too much for one blogger to tell, and definitely too much for this one post.  But let me tell you that she is in Kindergarten- growing, learning, excelling.  She is the only one in her school that wears hearing aids.  And she is rocking it.

Will at one day old

Today I am thinking back to that time because our youngest baby failed his hearing screening at one year old.  They brushed it off and told me it happens all the time… Probably just wax in his ears.  But I had heard that one before.  I immediately called Lisa and set up an appointment to have little Will tested, and today is the day.  We are nervous.  Apprehensive.  Scared to death really.  But this morning my husband reminded me that we have been down this road before, and it is not the end.  If indeed the test is positive, it is not what will define him.  He will be our sweet, joyful little Will- hearing aids or no.  And he and Julia can walk this road together.  But this time we go in with our eyes open- we are going together, and we are preparing our hearts for whatever the outcome.