Friday, February 4, 2011

A Hearing Moment

Yesterday we had our weekly Aural Rehab Therapy. There has been some excellent progress made, especially noticeable since the settings were altered – something we had questioned for awhile. The therapist had Elias sitting in a high chair and playing with various kids musical instruments. Elias was very engaging and interactive – especiallyMusical Instruments beating on a drum! As Elias plays the therapist would make various sounds - The Ling 6 sounds in addition to what I call a throat trill – a high pitched rolling sound. The Ling 6 sounds are particular sounds that occur at particular speech frequencies or pitches. She would make them randomly looking for auditory response. Over the past 8 months there have been lots of, “was that a response?” Never that definitive ah-ha moment that everyone we have spoken to over the past several years has mentioned.

Katharine was seated next to Elias, on his right while the therapist was sitting off-centered in front of him towards the left. At one point Elias looked over at Mommy. The therapist sounded off a throat trill – Elias’ eyes got bigger and he snapped to look at the therapist. When she stopped he looked slightly confused at first and she started again. He smiled! He looked at Mommy again, this time the therapist sounded a shhh. Again his eyed enlarged and he turned to her. These were very definite auditory responses. In fact the therapist commented, “I can tell by the well of tears in your eyes that you agree this was a response.” It was the moment we had been waiting to see for 2 1/2 years. It was very emotional and exciting – for everyone in the room. So exciting that when we left when the door shut to the entrance we could hear the therapist let out a cheerful shouting “Whoo-hoo, yes!” As she shared the awesome breakthrough with her colleagues. We smiled hearing that and each gave Elias a big kiss!

To keep it in perspective this does not mean that Elias is hearing everything, in fact it is still very little. This along with the booth testing from a few weeks ago provide strong evidence that his hearing loss is almost certainly central and that the pathways are beginning to open. Answers have been there, but fuzzy. Now they are becoming more clear and we know that we are on the right path. It could still take years. The past 8 months everyone has wondered if we were doing the right things – now we all know we are. We just need to remained patient and focused, diligent and optimistic. Thank you to everyone who has supported us through this. Advocacy for his hearing has been one of the more intense and emotional fights we have had to date. It has been challenging and that is probably making the memory of yesterday that much sweeter. There are no words to convey the beauty and pride we felt yesterday. While the road is still long – it looks much brighter today!

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