Are we doing the right thing???? This has been a huge question in our minds ... recently. There was no doubt in the very beginning when we were told Aiden would probably not have any response with his hearing aids. Since then, we have seen Aiden respond so well with his hearing aids. But, are they good enough? Will they give him what he needs to hear and acquire the sounds of speech needed to be successful in the hearing/speaking world we so want him to be a part of? These questions flood our minds every day. Every day we wonder are we doing the right thing for our baby.
Before we left Texas, they turned up his aids ... he's getting bigger and therefore can take on more. He responded ... he definitely responded. He's been responding and today in the sound booth he proved it ... he loves to hear. He didn't only respond to spoken language, but to what I call the boring "static/monotone" sounds. He responded to the " mmmm's", to the " ahhhhh's", and even to the " shhhh's". He showed responses not only through the infamous " binky" tests, but TURNED HIS HEAD TO ALL THESOUNDS! Continuous responses at 50 to 60 db. Flat line ... all the way across all frequencies. His audiogram shows pretty much a flat line between 50-60db. My baby is definitely hearing something and all I could do was smile and cry.
All the countless hours of ... ...him pulling his hearing aids out and us putting them back in,
...nonstop talk and singing and narration,
...of making sure we talk to him within his "hearing bubble",
...giving him every bit of auditory information we can.
All the countless hours we just want to STOP talking, but keep on going ... he is responding ... and every minute of our time has been worth it. The soundbooth confirms what we see at home, but always question, was that a response?!? Aiden wants to hear... his auditory nerve has such integrity, and we are doing something right!
So we've questioned ...
Does he still need cochlear implants?
Will hearing aids be enough?
Will his hearing keep getting better or will it get worse?
Can he learn to communicate in a hearing/speaking world that we want him to be a part of with just his hearing aids?
Should we implant one ear or two?
How could he have no response at 120 db unaided six months ago, yet test so much higher with hearing aids?
Aiden loves to hear ... his brain is getting ready for listening, and he loves it.
We know that Aiden will not receive all the sounds of speech with just his hearing aids. Could he learn to speak with just his aids? Probably. Will it be at the same level he would get from implants? Not at all. We don't want him to struggle any more than he has to already. Our goal is for him to be mainstreamed by kinder. or first grade and feel the least bit of difference possible from his peers. Either way, Aiden will always have to wear devices on his ears, whether it is hearing aids or cochlear implants. At his hearing levels, we know that the implant will give him opportunities to so many more sounds, at an age that is imperative to development for spoken language. We know in our hearts what the right answer is.
We have gone round and round with questions in our mind if we are doing the right thing for Aiden. This is a choice we are making for him, yet a choice I believe will benefit him for the rest of his life. We are empowering him with the fullest potential to hear and speak. We feel in our hearts that this is the route to take. Aiden wants to listen ... he hears and speaks to us everyday! He shows us he wants more. He shows us he is ready to take it all in. That he is ready.
I can't keep dwelling on the question to implant or not. I've questioned myself, I've done my research, asked my million and one mom questions to the professionals, and have done my own "mommy diagnosis" with my son. We're moving forward ... and there's no doubt, he's going to continue to amaze us each step of the way!