Hearing Loss: Finding Out My Son is Hard of Hearing

This post has been heavy on my heart to write for the last few months, but I honestly couldn’t find the words. I’m not even sure if I have the words now. It’s all been a whirlwind, a mix of not wanting to share this until I had all of the information, and also not wanting to say it out loud. Because, of course, saying it out loud makes it too real. It makes it true. My son is my whole entire world, and I am completely guilty of keeping him in a bubble in an effort to keep him safe and protect him as best as I can. However, when the audiologist uttered the words “Mild to Moderate Hearing Loss in both ears”, that bubble imploded. Our fears were confirmed. My son is hard of hearing, and will need hearing aids in both ears to improve his quality of hearing, speech, and life.

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Photos by AluraWayne Photography.

Looking back, I can’t pinpoint when I knew that something was off. It was a lot of little things. He was a bit behind as far as development goes, but would catch up rather quickly. It wasn’t until he was 15 months that he started walking. When he talked, some of the words sounded muffled, and he yelled a lot. I remember he started hitting his ears, and poking inside of them while he talked.

Starting at his 9 month well visit, I began mentioning it to his pediatrician. At first, my concerns were brushed aside, they checked him for ear infections and always gave the “all-clear”. I continued persisting, demanding referrals to specialists, and advocating for him as best as I could. It’s extremely difficult, as a parent, to not have your concerns validated. For the last few months, I’ve felt like I was screaming and no one was listening. I finally got the referrals that I was begging for, to specialists and ENT doctors.

We’ve had several appointments at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital in Nashville, as well as some local Ear, Nose, and Throat doctors. Over the course of these appointments, we’ve been unable to complete the hearing evaluation. Since Grayson is so young, it’s hard for him to have doctors poking and prodding in his ears. And since we have some trouble communicating with him, there was no explaining what was happening, no way to calm him. The appointments were absolutely miserable, for all of us.

There was pressure and a lot of talk regarding sedating him so that the doctors would be able to pinpoint his hearing loss. The thought of sedating my 20 month old son just didn’t sit well with me, so I worked with him for weeks at home. I would ask him if I could touch his ears, let him touch his ears, etc. We worked on this a little at a time, every day, and I just prayed that it would help.

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We had a follow up evaluation at Vanderbilt about two weeks ago. When I tell y’all that I came prepared…I am not lying. I had my giant bag filled to the brim with five different kinds of snacks, bubbles, books, toys, anything that I could think of to make him comfortable. He sat through every single test with minimal discomfort and hardly any tears! The audiologist told us the information she got from him was as much as she would get from an adult sitting and taking the test. Thinking about how well he did that day still brings me to tears. We finally have answers! His hearing loss is mild in one ear, and mild to moderate in the other. He will be needing hearing aids, speech therapy sessions, and continuous hearing evaluations.

The staff there is incredibly kind, patient, and so understanding. I appreciate them so much, and I feel like we will get to know them all quite well over the next several years.

We have already done his hearing aid selection appointment, and our next step is to have ear molds made. That appointment is coming up in a few weeks. Once those are finished, he will have his dispensing appointment (where he gets his hearing aids). Then we will be able to move forward with speech therapies.

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For the moment, I’m taking comfort in the fact that my son is such a happy kid. Truly. His joy is absolutely contagious–and for that, my husband and I are forever grateful. He’s starting to notice that he doesn’t hear as he should, and he adapts. Any of his toys that make noise, he will hold them up to his ears so that he can hear them better. We are well on the way to getting him aided, and that day will be so surreal. He will be able to truly hear us, and communicate better with us. I can’t wait for that.

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  1. April
    May 3, 2017

    What an inspiring story!! I’m so proud of you for sharing this as it will for sure help other moms & dads who feel the way you do. A mother’s intuition is never wrong.

  2. Erin
    May 3, 2017

    So sorry to hear this. Thankfully you advocated for him to get him the help he needs! You’re a great mom!

  3. Dilman
    May 3, 2017

    I love the fact that you continued to persist and advocate for him. It’s extremely difficult to deal with doctors and hospitals at times and knowing when to push is part of the advocacy. Stay strong momma!

  4. May 4, 2017

    I am so sorry to hear this. You’re a great mom and you’ve done everything you could! With news like this, it’s hard to think what reasons there might be why it’s happening to your son. I had the same experience about the bubble imploding when I found out my son has a severe allergic reaction to peanuts which he probably will never outgrow. But I love that you remain positive through it all and after finding out.

    Belle | One Awesome Momma

  5. May 4, 2017

    A truly touching story. But I do bet he grows up to be a happy boy in such a loving family. I think it’s still wonderful how you know that he will be able to hear you one day! Keep your heads up! Wishing your boy good luck 🙂

  6. May 4, 2017

    I wish the best for you! I love your continuous support for your child, and it’s great to see how happy your son is, and how loving your family is. 🙂

  7. May 4, 2017

    Beautifully written. I’m so relieved for you that you now have answers! Your family can now move forward and get your son the help he needs. There are so many advancements in technology today that I’m sure will help him hear and learn quickly! 🙂 ‘m looking forward to reading about how awesome this is going to be for him to finally hear! Keep us updated, please. Blessing to you and your beautiful boy!

  8. May 4, 2017

    Thank you for sharing this with all of us, I know this probably wasn’t the easiest thing to write about and it takes a lot of courage to talk about this! You are an incredible mother and your son looks SO happy! Wishing you and your family the best of luck 🙂

  9. May 4, 2017

    Such an inspiring story. Glad to see you are ahead of the situation and getting everything lined up for your son. Good job Mom!

  10. Thanks for sharing – your son is super cute!! I think you defined it perfectly when you said your son is happy, healthy and joyful – kids are so adaptive and strong. It must have been such hard news to hear but you sound like you are taking your son’s lead and being grateful for all you have. Good luck on your journey!

  11. Natalie Lozano
    May 12, 2017

    That was smart of you preparing him for the ear exam beforehand. I’m so glad you stuck with the persistence and that the drs. Finally listened to you. Unfortunately hearing parent have a much higher chance of having children with hearing problems than deaf people. Sounds like the hardest part is over hopefully it will be a little easier now that you know.

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