Okay, I’m finally writing a somewhat overdued update on my post, A New Journey. Last week we (hubby and I) brought Hubby-jr to his first test, a hearing test.
I don’t know if its bad or good news but one thing’s for sure I feel very relieved. Preliminary findings suggest that Hubby-jr has problems hearing the lower decibels (I think 20-30) on his right ear. His left ear however has perfect hearing. The audiologist has not confirmed her diagnosis and we’ve to see her again for another test early October. The current results may have been less than perfect as Hubby-jr may have just gotten less responsive due to restlessness (he is only 4!). She doesn’t want to mistake hesitant response to not hearing well and hopefully the next test will be more conclusive.
How am I taking the news? Like I said, I feel very relieved NOW but I was almost reduced to a wreck when the audiologist dished out the results. “I’d like to see him again… something may be wrong with his right inner ear… can’t hear very soft sounds… he’ll have to wear hearing aid… may need more tests to see if it’s structural… may be progressive (hearing loss worsens)… see if it’s operable…” The audiologist just wanted to prepare us for what may lie ahead but as a parent, those words hit me like waves, BIG Strong waves! Whoosh! WHOosh!! WHOOSH!!!
Thankfully it only took a day or two for the waves to subside and I began to see things rationally. The news although not ideal wasn’t so bad and would help explain the concerns his nursery teacher had regarding him not doing well in group activities and not socialising well with his peers. PLUS we would know how to help him.
Yes, if her diagnosis is confirmed based on this initial assessment, my son will have to wear a hearing aid on his right ear and attend formal speech therapy sessions.
While he may be experiencing hearing loss only for soft sounds and only in one ear, it’s affecting his speech development. This is because a lot of the sounds used in our spoken language fall within the lower decibel range. So he may have problems hearing some words clearly. And while he can understand us well at home, in a noisier setting he’d have problems deciphering verbal language. For example in a class full of children he may not catch what the teacher is saying. Hence a hearing aid will help. Hearing loss also affects his social skills which can lead to lower self confidence, self esteem. Social skills how? Apparently he may have problems understanding words spoken by someone unfamiliar as he’s not used to their voices and the way they speak.
Meantime as I work on Hubby-jr’s speech at home I’ve to speak more to his left ear (so that he can catch the right diction) or make sure he’s looking at me.
I cannot tell you how thankful I am that I finally took this journey of tests. I’m so relieved that we are finding this out now instead of when Hubby-jr’s seven. With a little help he’ll be able to catch up in his speech and we’re able to help build his self confidence.
So I have this advice for parents…
If your child is still experiencing speech delay by four years old seek professional assessment. Yes, visit a speech therapist. If nothing’s wrong, praise God. If something’s amiss you’d be thankful to have caught it early. I know it’s very scary just thinking about what the cause might be but it could make a world of difference to your child. When I think about it, it’s scarier for the child if something’s not right and we’re expecting him to fit in. If Hubby-jr is experiencing some hearing loss I can only imagine how overwhelming it must be for him to be left alone in a new environment especially in a big group. Knowing this I can help him cope.
Always opt for the infant hearing test. Over here in Singapore it’s optional and offered at birth. Unfortunately hubby and didn’t opt for it for both our kids. The audiologist told us that if Hubby-jr had done it, the infant hearing test would have been an invaluable baseline. She would have been able to tell us a if his hearing loss had progressed or regressed or remained the same and it would have helped in her overall assessment.