Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Hearing Aids / 6 Weeks In

So we're at about two months in with hearing aids. Maybe you're wondering how things are going.

Well, every morning, with Mel at the helm because I'm usually at work by this point unless it's the weekend, Maddie's up and crowing like a rooster on the old barnyard fence right about 7:30 in the morning.

(Note: This is usually after sleeping 11-12 hours straight. Yes, we're spoiled. Yes, we're going to miss that when baby number two comes around.)

Since we take Maddie's hearing aids out of her ears and the batteries out of them before naptime and before bed at night, the first task of the day before anything else is usually putting the batteries back into the hearing aids so they "turn on." (When the batteries are out, the hearing aids are obviously off. There's no on/off switch on these things.)

Maddie's usually a pretty good trooper about having her hearing aids put into her ears, as we expected she would be. She put up little bit of a fight at first, probably mostly due to a "OMG WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO MY EARS LEAVE ME ALONE YOU HORRIBLE PERSON" reaction more than any kind of physical pain. But Maddie was such a good little sport while she had to wear a helmet to fight the dreaded brachycephaly that we really thought she would fine with these too, and thankfully so far she has been.

The hearing aids aren't really as intimidating as you would think. We have a little bag that goes with us on trips to keep the hearing aids themselves and all the accessories safe. We've got a little compact case to keep them and the batteries safe when they're not being used, and a little tool to open them up and take the batteries out. Also a few different color straps for the hearing aids to clip to the back of Maddie's shirt if they fall out (gotta stay fashionable), a battery tester (most of the batteries last between 3-5 days, so we're told), and a little apparatus to clean out any copious amounts of ear wax that may collect on them. (Gross.)

We really like Maddie's audiologist, Dr. Wheeler. Not that we haven't liked or appreciated the information provided to us by any of the other doctors we've spoken to about Maddie's hearing, but she's a very kind person and going to see her at her office has felt very reassuring and not overwhelming at all for us. We're very thankful for her and the rest of her staff at "Heard It Through The Grapevine."Clever, huh? Because it's in Grapevine? And it's for hearing assistance. So see, the name, that's like the song,, yeah. Moving on.

As for changes in Maddie's speech/communication skills/mannerisms/etc, we've seen some subtle but definitely noticeable improvements. Starting with about a week and a half after she got them in, Maddie has learned how to clap, mastered many basic commands (hold Daddy's hand, give Momma your cup, let's go to your room, sit in your chair, etc), open and close things, put things "in" (usually puzzle pieces or toys) and a bunch of other stuff we struggled with before.

Speech therapy has also been very beneficial for Maddie and us. Each Thursday for 45 minutes, Maddie goes to visit with her therapist at Jump Start, Noelle, and they work on important skills like repetition together for a majority of the time. Maddie, naturally, eats this up. You mean I get to play with toys and occasionally eat Cheerios while everyone's smiling and happy with me all the time? Sign me up!

Overall, we're both very pleased with the way things have been going. Have we been frustrated at times? Sure. It's easy to feel a little helpless and there's times when I think we both have to catch ourselves from feeling sad - for us, for Maddie, just sad in general. But we know that we've been so fortunate, and that there's so many parents dealing with much more serious issues then we are. Maybe most importantly of all, we know that this is all part of God's plan. We may not know exactly what that plan is yet....but we truly believe it, and we look forward to discovering with her what that plan might be one day.