I recently took James to his HMO, to get his hearing and ears checked out. He’s already had several hearing tests and passed them, but he’s also not sat through them completely and kept the earphones on his head. Plus, the audiologist and I had some doubts that he was understanding the directions.
Here he is in the waiting room, pretending to read a book from a nearby table:
I wanted to recheck his hearing because I have concerns about how his speech is evolving — it does not sound normal to me. Rather, it reminds me of listening to people I know who learned to speak without being able to hear very much. I tried talking with his speech therapist from school, but she said she did not notice anything different. I know deafness runs in part of my family, so while James can hear, I really, really wanted any abnormalities in his hearing architecture ruled out.
James did so much better with the test this time! He left the headphones on all the time. He finished all the tests. He could sometimes say when he heard a noise. Mostly, they used pointing to a picture of the word spoken, or dropping a shape into a sorting can.
He loved the shape sorter. He’s hold the piece up to the ear receiving the signals, then dropped it in after he heard the signal. Early on, he saw that the test person would look out into the control room to confirm the noise had sounded. So James started checking with the person on the other side of the glass too, between taking the shape off his ear and dropping it in the corresponding shape hole.
He actually spoke about a quarter of the words for the pictures he pointed to. I am guessing this is the same audiologist he had before, because by the test’s end she was exclaiming over how big he’d grown and how many more things he could do and respond to.
His ears got a clean bill of health, including the ear drums and cochlear hairs. I am so glad I got this test done. While I was looking up the counterparts to the office chart on the internet, I kept finding correlation between the hearing organ and sensory & speech development, as well as vestibular activities. This reminded me that James for a long time hated swings and walked like he was drunk; therapists told be that his vestibular system was extremely sensitive.
Now I am mad at myself that I did not connect the dots between language difficulty and vestibular sensitivity better and sooner. I am wondering what I can do now to help James with speech issues. I am wondering why the O/T and speech therapist didn’t talk together more at the school. Frustration! However, at least I can be pretty secure in the knowledge that James’ hearing is fine.
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