Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Hearing Update

Two weeks ago we went to see Blair's audiologists for another booth test. We have now come to the end of Blair's hearing aid trial, and it will be time to make a decision based on all of the most recent tests.

She once again tested at the level of a mild hearing loss. She has been very consistent in all of her booth testing, which is very good. Usually hearing fluctuates with Auditory Neuropathy, but we don't have much evidence that hers does that. I cannot tell that it does at home either. She's pretty consistent in her reactions and following directions. In fact, I would have never known that she had any hearing loss at all if she had not failed the hospital test.

Blair's audiologists have recommended that we fit her with bilateral low gain aids, and they are trying to decide whether to go ahead and add an FM system or not. The FM system would basically put voices of people who wear the microphone right in her ears through her aids. The audiologist is not sure if we need to go there yet, but FM systems are common for hearing impaired kids in school -- the teacher wears the microphone and transmits directly to the child's hearing aids.

They audiologist told me that Blair is on the higher end of all of the clients that they have seen with Auditory Neuropathy, and they are going to consult with Dr. Linda Hood, a professor at Vanderbilt who specializes in Auditory Neuropathy, to confirm that their plan is the best one. They have another child who is very similar to Blair who has been using aids for over 10 years and is very successful in a regular school. That is encouraging, but we also have to remember that it doesn't mean Blair will be like that child -- every child is different. I sure pray that we have such a positive outcome with Auditory Neuropathy!

On our own, we did not have much success in our attempt to qualify for services through Children First. I don't know what happened, but they did not think Blair qualified for some reason. According to Blair's audiologist (and several others along the way), she should have qualified. Who knows. I do know that her audiologist contacted our Children First office, and Blair was immediately approved for funding for hearing aids! Yippee! I feel like if we had had an advocate like that the whole time we might have been able to apply and qualify for some other programs or grants that would have helped with what our insurance didn't cover for Blair's health care. Until it was basically too late, we were not even aware of the programs available and certainly didn't know what their names were or that we could apply. Our insurance is expensive and still does not cover all of the costs of oxygen, RSV preventions shots, and so on. I'm going to stop there before I get on a roll. But, the hearing aid funding is good news, and we are thankful for that!

We are waiting to hear back from Dr. Hood before we go ahead. I'll post an update when I know something else!


Jen O'Daniel said...

I know it must be so difficult to get clear results for something like this. It is so hard to figure out what is going on with babies... but how great that the audiologist find Blair on the higher end of clients with A.N.

I taught several students at my last school that were on the FM system, and they were all very successful... in fact, two of them were little trouble-makers! Doesn't it make you laugh to think that our sweet babies could be trouble-makers one day!? :)

CHERI said...

I had one student years ago that used the FM system....once I went to the bathroom and forgot to turn off my microphone. She heard everything! I had to be careful and remember to turn it off when I wanted to speak privately to someone. After a few years she decided she didn't want to continue to use the system but she was always successful in school. Is the Childrens First program the same as Babies First? If not, check into that.

AA said...

That's great that she is on the higher end of clients with AN. With great doctors, therapists and you and Brad on her side, I have no doubt she will excel in school. Keep your head up, Ash!! I'll try calling you tonight.