Pardon? The word, along with ‘Mummy’ used most in this house by one of its occupants. Turn the clock back 8 years to the newborn hearing screen (you know the one, postnatal ward, little probes, yes you can hear no you can’t) Well the result was negative, in both ears. “Don’t worry it will be fluid. Bring him back in 4 weeks and we’ll re-test”
And we promptly placed it in the back of our minds. Forward 4 weeks and we have been experiencing the biggest rollercoaster of our together lives, night feeds, hormones, colic we were well ‘in’ the tunnel.
We remember somehow to go to the audiology appointment, who test those teeny ears again, and the audiologist delivers the news. “Well he can hear in his left ear, but I’m afraid he is totally deaf in his right ear”. I’m sorry, tell us that again, our precious baby has a broken ear? How did that happen? What did I do wrong in pregnancy? What will life be like? I’m feeding him and his good ear is against me…can he now hear nothing? The questions were endless.
Our precious boy had unilateral hearing loss. Irreparable nerve damage that meant that sound only made its way through one side. Sound was effectively in Mono and not in Stereo. So yes he is deaf, but counts as a ‘hearing child’ as he can still hear one sided. You ask him where a sound is coming from and he doesn’t know. “I’m in here” needs to be followed with “in the hall” or the kitchen or wherever we are calling him from. We have had the most amazing mentoring from a fellow family with children with unilateral hearing loss, in fact they are now some of our closest friends and our boy is developing beautifully.
Back to now. 6 monthly hearing checks keeping an eye on the ‘good’ ear. A common cold bungs up his tubes and the kid is a deaf as a post, he shouts (a lot) and you want him to listen, then sit on his good side. On a recent visit to audiology we were asked if he wanted a hearing aid which would collect the sound from his bad ear and send it to a hearing aid in his good ear, giving him a more rounded sound. My thoughts…. no, he’s managing fine, we often forget, he’s doing well at school. Thanks but no thanks. Bad me because I confess that my reaction was about image.
We get in the car discussing the appointment, forgetting that a very switched on 8 year old is well aware of what is being discussed. “Mummy I would like those hearing aids” “You would? Why” “Because when I don’t hear things and say ‘pardon’ people say ‘don’t worry’.” My heart did a little ache.
So here we are. He has 2 bright blue (coolest colour he could choose) hearing aids, and he LOVES them. His buddies think they are they are awesome. “Do you worry about what they look like Alfie?” “Why would I, they help me hear better and they are the best thing ever”
As I took a photo of the back of his ears yesterday so he could see what they looked like, my heart did that little ache thing again this time as a proud Mummy, this kid is a total legend.