Sunday, September 13, 2009

Hearing Aid Update

(In order to keep his hearing aids on, our Audiologist suggested getting these Hannah Anderson Pilot hats)

First, to review our findings in regards to Nate's ears.

After 5 hearing tests, we are still unclear as to the exact amount of hearing loss Nate has, but it is believed that he has moderate loss in the right ear and moderate to severe in the left. So, for him, it's like hearing underwater. He hears lower tones, better than higher. A couple of reasons we're having a hard time getting an accurate read: 1) His ear canals are extremely small (even smaller than most kids with DS) and 2) We think he has fluid in his middle ear, but cannot put tubes in yet because his canals are so small. So, he has some degree of both conductive (can be fixed) and sensory-neural (permanent) hearing loss.

Of course, for speech development, get Nate's hearing at its optimal is critical. What we've decided (along with several audiologists and our pediatric ENT) is to get him fitted with hearing aids adjusted to accomodate for the fluid in the ears and then re-evaluate in another month or so to see if his ears have grown enough to see inside the ear and potentially put tubes in. He will then have another sedated hearing test (ABR) and then we can get his hearing aids adjusted for that level of loss.

So, we picked up our temporary hearing aids on Tuesday. Fortunately, the clinic we are working with has loaners, so we can use theirs at no charge until we get a final reading. This will likely be after Nate's 1st birthday and will also be in 2010 when insurance will begin to be required to pick up the very expensive tabs on the hearing aids - amazing!

Unfortunately, the ear mold (the part that goes inside the ear) was already too small when we picked them up on Tuesday. It's a bit of a trial and error system....between the time we get Nate measured for the ear molds and the time they get them made and we get back in to the office, it is 2-3 weeks. Nate is growing so fast right now, that his ears are already bigger and so the molds don't fit snugly. So, we got measured again and will try again in another week or so. The left ear (the very small one) doesn't fit at all as it has to be a nice fit to not give that squealing feedback sound. But, the right one fits a little better, so we're trying to put that one in when we can. The tricky part is getting it to stay in. Since much of his time is spent rolling around on the floor, it makes it tough to get any good time with them in. We basically just put them in when we are holding him or he's in the high chair, so he's only getting about 30-60 minutes each day.

It's clear Nate can hear quite a bit more with the aid in, so we are encouraged!


  1. That hat is a great idea. I'm am glad to read that the aids are making a difference. Do you spend that hour chatting with him? I'll bet you do!

  2. Thanks for the suggestion! We are starting this process with Abby right now. She has fluid and is scheduled to get tubes next week and will have her first abr after that. The last hearing test was too inconclusive other then to say she does have hearing loss. I'll have to go back and read your other posts about the process!

  3. Danielle, that's great news that the hearing aid is helping! Just keep talking and singing and loving that sweet boy. The hat is adorable and with fall/winter ahead, it'll just be that much cuter. We have a friend whose son needed a new ear (he was born w/o one, but could still hear a little) and they used a cute hat, too, while he was recovering with his new ear and aid.