Saturday, January 14, 2012

Sound Check? Check!

Our visit with the audiologist went well yesterday. Every time we go to have Monkey's hearing tested, I realize I don't know what to call the audiologist. Dr. So-and-So? Are they doctors? Probably a dumb question, I know, and something I swear I'm going to look up every time we go there. But of course I don't and a year or two later I end up on my way to another appointment with Monkey, walking in the door and realizing I still have no idea what to call the audiologist. Classy.

Our appointment was at an office that mostly serves adults. Monkey did his best to behave but, you know, he's 6, and a two hour appointment is a long time for his little brain to focus and his little body to sit still. He did his best, though, and so did I. I was silent and helpful in the little soundproof room, handing Monkey brightly colored pegs as the audiologist signaled me and keeping my emotions under control. Sounds crazy, right? Getting emotional in the soundproof room? But you have to understand what it's like, sitting and watching your child being tested, watching him not hearing things that are audible to you, feeling the sting of not knowing, not ever having the slightest hope of knowing *WHY* your baby was born with this disability, never knowing if it was something you did wrong or a freak genetic mutation or what, only knowing that there's nothing you can do about it, that you're helpless to help your baby do something that you used to take for granted every second of every day: hear.

It hurts, but it gets easier. This is the first time I didn't cry before, during, or after the hearing test.

The results of the testing yesterday were right in line with the previous results, taken three years ago for the right ear and two years ago for the left ear, the latter having been retested following surgical insertion of a tympanic membrane tube to deal with recurring ear infections throughout infant/toddlerhood. Now that Monkey is 6 ("I'm 6-and-a-HALF, mommy!"), we can be fairly confident that the results of the tests are accurate and reliable. Plus, while his right ("little") ear still shows a moderate hearing impairment (not a surprise, as he still lacks an open ear canal on that side, a condition identified as aural atresia) tests done via bone conduction indicate that Monkey's inner ear is in perfect working condition - which takes him one step closer to being a candidate for constructive surgery and/or implantation of a post to attach a bone-conducted hearing aid.

As my husband keeps reminding me (thank you, dear!), this is the year of gathering information. Still, it's hard not to react emotionally to information about my baby's ears, whether it is good or bad. Right now, I have a mommy rush of excitement in the pit of my stomach, a feeling of relief and joy that, for the moment, the path is smooth for my sweet boy, for us as a family. I'm not naieve enough to think that the entire journey will be this way but, for now, I'm savoring the moment.
Next stop? Appointment #2 will be next week with a local ENT, whose job will most likely be to review the file, ask a few questions, and refer us to a specialist. Dot your Is, cross your Ts, and follow the steps the insurance company wants you to take. We're gathering information.

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