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Better Results in the Soundbooth ... AGAIN

Posted Nov 29 2008 12:28pm
I know this should be so exciting to me, and believe me, it is. We had a full day at Johns Hopkins today, starting with our psychological and ending with what I thought was just going to be a choose your implant device discussion. Well, they started with another sound booth ... which I'm always glad to walk into, but then threw our decision for "simultaneous bilateral implants before 12 months" off a bit.

Here is his audiogram and then next to that the speech banana, which I explained when Aiden got his first soundbooth test. At this time he was just over three months old and showed responses with his hearing aids at 75db and I was like my daughter in a candy store. I couldn't contain myself that my baby heard something! That was 5 months ago. So to think now that he is hearing sounds at 45 to 50 db and definitely hears some of what his mommy says to him is just UNBELIEVABLE! From 75db at 3 months to 45 db at 7 months. Actually, from being told he "probably wouldn't get any benefit from hearing aids" to learning to listen like no other!



Okay ... to explain his audiogram for family & friends ... the left side shows decibels (how loud something is ... a whisper is at around 20 db and normal conversation levels around 45 to 50 db). The bottom axis shows the frequency level ... the more energy it takes to make a sound, the higher the frequency ... with deaf/hard-of-hearing people it is typically harder to hear high frequency sounds than lower).

Okay ... so look at Aiden's audiogram, the "S"s show his "Binaural" responses - that is with both hearing aids on - he was hearing between 45db and 50 db from frequencies between 500 to 4,000. This includes normal conversational levels.

Then, the O's and X's show his responses without hearing aids ... O's show his right ear responses and the X's show his left ear responses ... which, as you can see, both ears are pretty much the same from 65-70 db at lower frequencies and then drops to 75 to 80db at the higher frequencies. So without his aids, he could possible hear a dog barking or lawn mover.

All of these responses are to sounds though that he would probably hear only about 50 percent of the time. Think about it, as normal hearing people, we can make out what we don't hear based on everything we do hear ... for hard of hearing/deaf people it is so much harder to do this ... it's harder to "fill in those blanks".

Now look at the speech banana next to his audiogram. This shows what a person can hear at different db's and frequencies. So you can see that even with Aiden hearing with aids at 45 to 50db, he's still missing out on hearing (and therefore speaking and responding to) the important sounds of speech, such as the /p/, /k/, /h/, /g/, /th/, /s/, /f/, /z/, /b/, /d/, etc.

So, is he hearing somethings? Definitely. Is he hearing all he needs to acquire ALL sounds of speech? NO. Is he hearing enough to only need one implant or maybe, just possibly maybe, only hearing aids ... still checking this out. My gut still wants at least one cochlear implant. My big question now truly is will he be just as successful with one than he would be with two?

Honestly, truly, I wish he was just deaf OR could hear enough to know he just needed hearing aids. Seriously, wouldn't it just make it all that much easier?!? Don't get me wrong, I'm on cloud nine that my binky boy is hearing as well as he is. He's moved up to the "moderate to severe" hearing loss category and is on his way to being successful. He wants to listen. He loves to hear. He continues to use new sounds every week (we were so excited to hear /r/, /m/, and /b/ from his loud mouth this week!) He will succeed. He already shows it.
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