Not Alone…

One thing that has always bothered me is the fact that AC doesn’t know any other kids that have hearing loss.  It may be something I worry about more than he does…  but, ever since he was diagnosed (when he was 4) until now (he’s 15) – he has always been the only kid who wears hearing aids that he/we know personally.   In school – he’s the only one in his classes dealing with the FM too.   I’ve read articles about social issues for HOH kids, and so have tried to find other kids in our area like AC.   I’ve posted about that on here before – but, it’s never really worked out.

People will frequently compare wearing hearing aids with wearing glasses – but, it really isn’t the same.  Wearing glasses will pretty much correct your vision, but wearing hearing aids never really brings hearing quality to a “normal” level.  The sound quality is much different, and there are all kinds of other factors that come into play (batteries, surrounding noises, etc).   Then, there’s the social differences.  LOTS of people wear glasses – but hearing aids? – not so much.   Wearing glasses doesn’t present the same types of  feelings of being different or the same unfortunate stigmas.

We live in an area with one of the largest Deaf populations around – but, AC doesn’t identify with  Deaf culture either.  He doesn’t use ASL.  He is learning it in school for his “foreign language”, but it is not how he communicates and he doesn’t consider himself as “Deaf”.  His family, friends, class-mates – are all hearing… and he fits in with us/them, but,  Continue reading

“Hearing Loss In The Family”

Thought this was interesting…  and worth sharing:

Documentary video about hearing loss in the family

http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docid=440288214442594246&hl=en&fs=true

Mother’s Guilt…

As a mother, I think feeling guilty often comes with the territory.  When dealing with discovering your child has a hearing loss – and you didn’t even know it  for some time – these feelings can often surge up to al all time high.  At least they did for me back in 2001, when we realized AC had a hearing loss. 

As I mention on the “background page“, AC was probably born with mild/mod hearing loss, but, we didn’t know it until he was 4 years old.  Once we were LOOKING for it, there were signs everywhere…  but, up until that point, we really had NO clue. 

This is an email I found that I had written to a friend back then…  I thought Continue reading

So… What’s YOUR Problem?!

jan2006-downAs I mentioned before, the year AC was in 3rd grade was a bit of a rough year for us. It was the first time he really ever “got in trouble” in school. He was basically being misunderstood, and was falsely accused of misbehaving, when he simply wasn’t hearing. 

Third grade was also the first time that AC really got a taste of being picked on or singled out by other kids because of his hearing aids… and of course he didn’t like it. Fortunately, the picking on was a few isolated cases… and, he always had lots of friends –  but, even a little “teasing/bullying” is hard to take.  Being the only kid you know who wears hearing aids makes you different, and being “different” when you’re a kid can be difficult.  The fact that this was also the time his teacher was suddenly on his case for “misbehaving” probably didn’t help.

On this particular afternoon back in third grade, AC came home mad.  He didn’t want to wear his hearing aids anymore. “I don’t NEED them!”, he said.

Of course, what he really wanted was NOT to be different. Not to Continue reading

Acknowledging the needs of children with mild hearing loss…

I was surfing, and found a post about a recent study and article, called: Effect of Minimal Hearing Loss on Children’s Ability to Multitask in Quiet and in Noise“.  The full text in a PDF format, and more info can be found here: http://lshss.asha.org/cgi/content/abstract/39/3/342
The abstract reads:

Effect of Minimal Hearing Loss on Children’s Ability to Multitask in Quiet and in Noise
  – Brittany McFadden, Andrea Pittman, Arizona State University, Tempe

Purpose: The purpose of the present study was to examine the effect of minimal hearing loss (HL) on children’s ability to perform simultaneous tasks in quiet and in noise.
Method: Ten children with minimal HL and 11 children with normal hearing (NH) participated. Both groups ranged in age from 8 to 12 years. The children categorized common words (primary task) while completing dot-to-dot games (secondary task) in quiet as well as in noise presented at 0 dB and +6 dB signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs). It was hypothesized that the children’s progression through the dot-to-dot games would slow as they encountered more difficult listening environments. This hypothesis was based on the theory that listeners have limited cognitive resources to allocate to any combination of tasks.
Results: The dot rate of both groups decreased similarly in the multitasking conditions relative to baseline. However, no other differences between groups or listening conditions were revealed. Significantly poorer word categorization was observed for the children with minimal HL in noise.
Conclusion: These data suggest that children with minimal HL may be unable to respond to a difficult listening task by drawing resources from other tasks to compensate.

I found this article very interesting… a little discouraging… but, mostly I am glad that this is being researched and that the needs of children with mild hearing loss is being acknowledged. > Continue reading

“The kid with the hearing aids”…

Way more than "the kid with the hearing aids"...

AC is way more than “the kid with the hearing aids”…  but, labels come cheap and everyone uses them.  
 
Below is another letter I had written 9 days after our son (then almost 4 yrs old)  was diagnosed… while we waited on getting his new hearing aids.  Reality hits home about labeling… stigma… hearing aids.  Things that still bother me 7 years later…  

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Written: February 10, 2001

Hi ___ =),

I need to vent a little more about AC… Something hit me like a ton of bricks last night… and I can’t quite shake it now….

We were over a LE’s house… sitting around the table, while our kids were sitting in the playroom… and from where I was sitting, I could see my son sitting in a chair, just watching the TV… and I was looking at him and thinking about how cute he is with his new haircut and all… what a great kid… you know… those loving motherly feelings…

Then I was thinking that soon, he’ll have his hearing aids… and I was just imagining him with them on… I’m actually looking forward to his reaction to them… and being able to hear everything… I’m thankful we now know and can deal with this.

But, then something just hit me… and I thought “Oh my God…. pretty soon, when people look at him… like I’m just watching him now… not me, but strangers or MOST people… the thing they are going to notice is going to be those hearing aids in his ears… ya know? and, I was just > Continue reading