Thursday, July 5, 2012

a major change

As you most likely know, Emma has moderate to severe hearing loss and has been wearing bone conduction hearing aids, which come on a headband, in order to hear.  Since her left ear canal has grown a bit over time, and with encouragement from a couple FA friends, we decided to see if Emma was able to get some behind-the-ear hearing aids.

We went in a couple weeks ago and got the mold taken.  Then today we went back in to see if it was going to work.  The mold was in and was now able to be put onto the hearing aid and behind Emma's ear.  Emma was really excited.  I was really anxious.  I was worried I might have gotten her excited about something that wasn't going to work...

Oh, and a little funny: Emma decided to use my hairspray last night and made her hair so stiff, it felt like straw.  She put so much hairspray in.  There was so much in her hair that we weren't able to brush it out because the brush couldn't go through it. So, if it looks a little weird in the video below, that's why - it was straw hair!  

Here's a very short little video of when she tried the hearing aid on Emma (go HERE if you need the link).    It's nothing amazing, but it shows her facial expression when she has them on, which is fun to see.  You can  also hear her getting after the audiologist and telling her how much she's hurting her and being a bit dramatic (dramatic's good, right?).  I think mostly she was really worried it was going to hurt & didn't know what to expect:

So, it worked!  No more headband - whew!  She's also been able to hear more sounds than she could before.  She can hear footsteps on carpet.  Apparently she's never been able to before.  

Back with the old hearing aids, when it was very loud, it would send all the noise through her hearing aid, into one big blaring noise, and she wouldn't be able to hear us if we spoke to her.  With these new aids, it's been completely different.  Tonight she was vacuuming and talking with me.  She understood everything I was saying!  It was amazing.  She's also been able to hear word endings much better.  This should help her with her speech too.  So awesome.

Funny Story:

After the new hearing aids were put in, the audiologist needed to check Emma's hearing.  If you've never been to an audiologist, here is what the sound proof room looks like that you go in to have your hearing test done:

This is inside the soundproof room.  They will close the door and put the chair in front of that window that you see.  Then they'll do the hearing test:

I'm not sure you can tell, but the audiologist wears a headset so she can talk to Emma.  As you can see below, the audiologist turns off all the lights during the test, and she watches and talks to Emma through the glass window.

So, the hearing test is going on.  The audiologist is saying something like "Say Bird. Say knife.  Say ice cream."  Then she pauses, like she's listening to Emma.  Then she says, "Oh, my hair is sticking straight up?"  So, she stops and tries to fix her hair.  I couldn't hear what Emma was saying, but I could see the audiologist trying to follow Emma's direction to fix her hair.  "Oh, over here?"  She tried several times to get the runaway hair that Emma was pointing out to her, but I have no idea what Emma was talking about because her hair looked just fine.  But it was SO FUNNY.    

Here are some photos after we got home (notice there is NO HEADBAND!!):

 Her hearing aid.  She had chosen the "rainbow" mold.  It's so fun that she gets to choose fun colors and stuff.

This is her right ear canal.  It kind of looks like there is a canal in there, but it's very shallow and doesn't go very deep at all.  So, it doesn't go through, and as far as we understand, there's no way for a hearing aid to work on this ear.  I think I'll double check, but I'm pretty sure there's no way.

It's confirmed that it was not the hearing aid that made her insane before.  It's just her that is insane:

Oh, and in case it's not obvious, Emma got herself some bangs cut.  She had originally gotten them cut so she could wear them straight across her forehead.  But lately she has started parting them like this.  She really likes doing her whatever she wants is usually just fine with us!  She can even braid her own hair.  I want to see you try that without the use of thumbs.

And, look.  When you don't have a headband, you can ACTUALLY STYLE YOUR HAIR DIFFERENT!!

You can also wear a hat and still be able to hear.  She had so much fun wearing it.  She was so excited that she could while still being able to hear.  It was cute.

It's been sooooooo exciting.  It still doesn't seem real.  Emma doesn't have to wear a headband anymore.  And, not only that, but she is able to hear better now!  I can't remember the numbers exactly, but the audiologist tested her hearing with her old hearing aid, and she got about 70%-ish of the test correct.  With these new hearing aids, she's getting over 90% correct.  So, it's really a big change for her.

I'm going to go to bed now because I can't hardly keep my eyes open.  Just wanted to share.  I hope I made sense.  This has been a huge answer to prayers!


  1. Yay for Emma!! This is so exciting.
    Loving the rainbow colors she chose!!

  2. I love this!!! A friend sent me this link because two of my children are profoundly Deaf. One is bilaterally implanted and the other is still waiting for his second implant. (Lots of anatomy issues to complicate things a little bit.) I love blogging all their milestones for reasons like you've written about. It's the little things like choosing their own ear molds and deciding which fancy sticker to put on them, etc. I'm not sure if they've ever noticed footsteps, but I know my 8 year old was thrilled to hear the "ticker" (blinker) in the car. Lol! Congrats to Emma on such an exciting new phase in her life.

  3. This made me so happy. I'm so excited for her. Can't wait to see the new hairstyles she comes up with!

  4. wow that is so very exciting!!! yay!!!!! her hair looks beautiful! what awesome news! =) cheryl

  5. So exciting! I'm happy for you all and especially for Emma:)