What Can My Baby Hear?

It should be such a simple question, but actually, for our ANSD babies, it’s the hardest to answer.

In standard hearing loss, you do an ABR or test them in a hearing booth. For our babies this just doesn’t cut it. Alice tested anywhere between a moderate and a profound loss within the same session and within minutes. Her hearing was consistent in that it was completely inconsistent. Even when we went for Ear No2, she was still able to completely confound us and her audiologists. Interestingly, when we ask what she hears, its anything between nothing and her new favourite, “Ghosties……..” So none the wiser. But none of that hearing was useful. She couldn’t make enough sense of it to make out speech.

But ANSD kiddies are all different; some hear nothing useful, some have windows of useful hearing and some hear well with amplification or technology that improves noise to sound ratios. Herein lies madness and it’s frustrating for parents, who want a straight answer to what should be a simple question and for professionals as they can’t give the straightforward answer.

We don’t think Ollie hears much; in the next month or so we’re going to find out where he tests in terms of VRA but last week was more exciting and much more useful.

Francesca from Manchester University has devised a test to try and capture the useful hearing in an ANSD baby. An amazing area of research and one that we are delighted to support. We have discovered that Oliver can hear, he can distinguish the different parts of speech (on a simple level consonants and vowels) and the signal can get through. The issue is that it took very loud sounds to do it – for Oliver, it was 105db, but it was still possible. For other ANSD children, the answers will be very different. It was fantastic and amazing and it will be an extremely useful piece of the puzzle for audiologists.

The best Christmas Present ever ……

Whilst the world enjoyed the joyful celebration that is Christmas, in the Campbell household, Christmas was particularly special this year.

2012 has been a very mixed year, in some ways the most amazing with the safe arrival of Oliver, but then his deafness has also continued the hard work of the last couple of years. But without a doubt, one of the highlights of the year, was Alice’s final session at AV UK. After 3.5 years on the course, Alice graduated with above age appropriate language and we are cast adrift into the world. Alice just thought it was an excuse to eat cake and tell Rosie about her world, we were secretly shedding a tear of pride.

When Rosie told Alice she wasn’t coming back because she had learned to talk and listen so well, Alice just answered,”I know.………….”

We have created a self-assured little girl who is more than capable of speaking for herself. Leaving AV is really hard for parents. They have been the most incredible support and holder of our hands. I always tell people that the second call we made after family was to AV when Oliver was diagnosed. We needed them to remind us that it was all going to be ok. When problems have arisen, our concerns and emails are always answered in a calm and reassuring manner. We put our faith in them when they said they could change Alice’s fortune and to trust them – we did.

I would be more scared if I didn’t know we’d be back there in a month’s time for Oliver. By the time he graduates, we will be experts.

But in the meantime, Merry Christmas and thank you Santa for the greatest gift, Alice’s future.

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Our Pom!

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