Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Hearing Test - Take 3

So, if you have been following our hearing test saga then you would know that Joshua passed his newborn hearing screening, and then, due to being in a high risk category, had to have a follow up hearing test at around 9 months of age.  (He was actually 10.5 months when it was done, but never mind)
The first test was basically inconclusive because Joshua was unable to condition to the test.  It left me very upset and frustrated because it was quite clear to me that the method of testing (Visual Reinforcement Orientation Audiometry) just wasn't suitable for Joshua.  This type of testing is generally considered suitable for infants from the age of 7 months.  Upon being unable to condition to the Visual Reinforcement test, they tried using Behavioural Observation Audiometry, which is used for babies younger than 7 months.  Although this was more successful, he still only responded consistently to sounds around 50 decibels or "LOUD CONVERSATION".  I also felt that the way they were trying to distract him during the test was counterproductive to trying to get a response from him...
We had to go back a second time in the hopes that he would be able to condition to the Visual Reinforcement after a couple of months had passed.  He did do much better, but the results were still consistent with mild hearing loss.
Today, a month after the second test, we went back for round three.   I wasn't sure what they were going to do this time, as they told me on the phone they wanted to do some *different* tests to get a better idea of what was going on with his hearing.  As it turns out, they didn't do anything different, it was the same Visual Reinforcement test.  This time however, we had a different Audiologist and also a different girl who was assisting her.  And....  JOSHUA ACED THE TEST.   He looked at their stupid puppets and responded to the sounds every single time.  Unlike the last times, he totally understood what he was supposed to do.  So..  they might say that type of testing is suitable from 7 months....  but it took my son until he was 14 months to understand 100% what was expected of him.  So frustrating, as I have been telling them all this time that I had NO concerns about his hearing, but of course they make you paranoid and doubt yourself.  Anyway, I talked to the Audiologist after the test and she told me he totally passed and responded to every sound level that they play at this age.  I told her he did WAY better than the other times, and that my feeling all along had been that the testing had not been appropriate for Joshua's ability and not that he had a hearing problem.  She even mentioned something about how when he was too interested in the toy that the assistant had, he didn't respond but when she backed off on the "distraction" he paid attention again.  And I said "Yes, that was my issue with previous tests too, because they were actually giving him the toys and he was banging them around and making noises and not paying any attention at all, so it was really no surprise that he wasn't listening" And she said "Well it sounds like everybody did a better job today then!"
Anyway, the last time that we went he had a bit of a cold and had fluid in one of his ears.  Today was the same story (although that first cold cleared up and this is another one!)  So she said they would like to see him again in three months, just to basically monitor the fluid in his ears.  She says it is totally normal and unconcerning for them to find that given he has a runny nose, but that they want to be sure that it is not an ongoing problem...  if he was to constantly have fluid in his ears, they would refer him to an ENT for another opinion.  Interestingly, this Audiologist kept going on about how his particular Paediatrician at the hospital is "Great with ears" and knows "all about ear problems" so if there was something wrong then he'd find it at our hospital visits.  Oh, and she also said to me that usually, when there is a hearing problem associated with a lack of oxygen at birth/brain damage then they usually find problems much earlier on than now with things not working as they should.
So anyway...  there we have it...  a hearing test that backs up what I have known all along- HE CAN HEAR!  :)

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