What Does a Hearing Loss Sound Like?

Interesting…  and really shows what an impact background noise has on moderate hearing loss.  I give my son (and anyone else with mild/mod hearing loss) a lot of credit for dealing with this on a regular basis… 

From:
http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/mining/topics/hearingloss/hlsoundslke.htm

Play a recording that demonstrates normal hearing
Normal hearing

Play a recording that demonstrates moderate hearing lossModerate hearing loss

 

Play a recording that demonstrates normal hearing with background noiseNormal hearing with background noise

 

Play a recording that demonstrates moderate hearing loss with background noise
Moderate hearing loss with background noise

 

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ASL as “Foreign Language” for Hard of Hearing Children

Apparently, ASL (American Sign Language) is a very popular choice for kids to take at my son’s public school as their “Foreign Language”.  So popular, that they do not guarantee any child can take it.  

My son, AC , is in 6th grade now and mainstreamed.  His school recently sent home a standard form for kids/parents to state preferences for class choices for next year.  They made it clear to pick more than one option for Foreign Language, as there were no guarantee’s to get into your first choice.  ASL is one of the most popular choices.  A separate topic all together I’d like to explore more sometime…

We really wanted our son, AC, to take ASL as his “foreign language” next year since he’s hard of hearing.  Is just makes sense and seems like an obvious placement for him, right?  I mean, it’s not like he just WANTS to take ASL for the fun of it (although he does really want to take it, and thinks it will be fun).  He has obvious good reasons for taking ASL rather than Italian or French, right?  Well, like many things, I’ve learned that when you are dealing with a “mild-moderate” hearing loss – not much is obvious. 

So, the school asked me to put in writing my request explaining why I was so adamant about him taking ASL,  and return it with the form – and they would do their best to accommodate.  So, here’s my letter and top reasons on WHY I think my son, or really any hard of hearing child, should take ASL for their Foreign Language…

Hello XXXXXX,

I’m writing this letter regarding my son, AC, and his language preference for 7th grade. I understand that students will not necessarily get into the language preference that they want, and that is going to be assigned. I’m requesting that, if at ALL possible, AC be placed in ASL for his language due to the fact that he is hearing impaired.

As you know, AC has a mild/moderate bilateral hearing loss. He wears hearing aids, and is using the FM system in school. He’s having great success so far this year and we are thrilled with his progress. We look forward to his continuing in accelerated courses next year. Because of his hearing impairment, ASL would be the logical, most beneficial, and possibly essential, language for him to learn. I would really appreciate it if you would consider the following reasons/explanations for this request.

1) AC’s hearing loss could be progressive, and should he ever lose more of his hearing (which we hope will never happen – but is impossible to know for sure) he could really use adequate ASL skills in order Continue reading

Must be MY SIDE… ;)

The big brain on my son, that is…  (my side ;) ). 

I hope this doesn’t come off the wrong way… but, I am pretty psyched and wanted to share. We just got AC’s first report card from middle school today. He got strait A+’s!! . =) We’re so proud of him!!

I thought he was doing well… but, I wasn’t sure just how well.. and half expected to have at least one class or teacher that he might be having some problems with.  So, when he called me today (obviously pretty pleased, himself) and he told me he made high honor roll – well, can you say “ecstatic?”.  =)  This was just wonderful news. =) A relief even. Like, “Whew! Maybe middle school won’t be so bad.” sorta feeling…

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Mild Hearing Loss or ADD??

I want to share another thing I learned that blew me away in our “year of discovery” (when AC was in 3rd grade).  Apparently, a lot of kids that are HOH get misdiagnosed as having ADD – Attention Deficit Disorder.  AC was almost one of them.  That was how we figured out he needed the FM and all – because his teacher started saying all these little negative “behavioral” things were happening. Things like many of the ones noted on this list from phonic ear.  Check out the chart: 

Similarities Between Mild Hearing Loss & Attention Deficit Disorder
Similarities Between Mild Hearing Loss & Attention Deficit Disorder

Maybe, this information is old news now… but, when I first heard this I had a HUGE “light-bulb moment”.  I wish I had known this information BEFORE that point.  So, maybe this will help someone else out there who’s just starting off with a child diagnosed with mild hearing loss.  

At the time I discovered this (thru my OWN research) we were in the process of weeks of jumping through hoops. 
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His speech is a little off…

ac-prek2000

AC-prek2000

Below is a letter I sent to a friend back in January 2001 – just after we had taken AC to his 4 yr check up, and at the advice of his Pre-K teacher, I mentioned that she thought his “speech was a little off”. 

This captures the mood… and thoughts of that moment…

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Date: 18 January 2001

Hey _____,

I’m feeling a little scared..

I just had my son to the doctors office for his 4 year check up. AC is very healthy – but, I mentioned to her how his preschool teacher commented that his speech was a little difficult to understand sometimes. I knew this, but thought it was normal for his age. But, his doctor said his pronunciation is a little “lazy” for his age… and then we started questioning his hearing because he wouldn’t do the headphone hearing test earlier on in the visit. We tried to get him to do it again – and he either wasn’t hearing very well, didn’t understand what he was suppose to do, or he just didn’t want to do it.

So, his doc suggested I take him for a better evaluation to a hearing and speech center. I already made the appointment for 2/1.  I never noticed or thought he had a hearing problem, but now I’m worried.

I was trying to test him myself today, and it did seem he had difficulty hearing me when I whispered or spoke in lower tones. It’s so hard to tell… and if he does have a problem, I can’t believe I didn’t notice before.  

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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