Soon after a baby is born, the nurses perform a hearing test. The test involves attaching electrodes to baby’s head and testing for brain response to audio stimuli. It’s not uncommon for babies to fail the initial test due to fluid in the ears and other potential factors. Isla failed the first test, so we had a follow-up test a few weeks ago. She failed that one too, so after confirming she didn’t have an ear infection, the next step was to visit a Doctor of Audiology at the University of Minnesota yesterday afternoon.
The test determined that Isla has significant hearing loss. More specifically, she has moderate to severe hearing loss in her right ear and mild to moderate hearing loss in her left ear. In practical terms, she can still hear our voices, she can still hear dogs barking, and she can still hear music; it just sounds much more quiet to her. She also has difficulty in hearing higher frequencies, but as everyone knows, all the good stuff happens at lower frequencies anyway.
We will be meeting with some specialists in the next several weeks so we can get started on a plan. They will work to determine the cause of her hearing loss, but considering she is less than two months old, we are prepared to rule out Led Zeppelin’s 1972 North American Tour. Isla will also be fitted for baby hearing aids, which of course will help her with language development. And you’d better believe we will set her up with the most adorable widdle hearing aids ever.
Patty & I are relieved. Until yesterday, we didn’t know if she could hear anything. Now that we know what we’re dealing with, we can help. We’re going to learn sign language, and we’re going to do whatever it takes to help our girl. I even plan to finally stop mumbling and shave my big honking mustache.
I totally look like this guy!
Oh, one last thing. We noticed early on that Isla never seemed to startle at loud, sudden noises. As we were walking through the parking ramp following the appointment, someone hit their car horn right next to us. Patty & I jumped, and Isla immediately started crying in her stroller. Patty went to console her, but I just said one word: