"He is there not only when we cry out from the burden of sin but also when we cry out for any other reason." -Bruce D. Porter

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Do you hear what I hear?

Seth finally has hearing aids. We were fitted for these two months ago but our insurance company wanted to do another hearing test, ABR, before they would approve for him to have them. By the way, most insurance companies do not cover hearing aids, so we are feeling blessed that Tricare does. I was hoping the ABR we did last week would show more hearing improvement, but unfortunatley, it did not. It actually showed that his hearing loss was worse than the last ABR we had. In the NICU his hearing loss was defined as Profound. Then we had an ABR in January that showed mild to moderate hearing loss. Last week's ABR showed severe to profound again. I'm not sure why the tests came back the way they did. I was told ABR's are very accurate. Anyways, in the right ear he has moderate-severe hearing loss. In the left ear he has a severe-profound hearing loss. The hearing aids he is wearing now are actually temporary as we had to order new ones that are more geared for such severe hearing loss. The audiologist even said that because his hearing loss is so great he is actually a candidate for cochlear implants. We'll see the future holds for him. The hearing aids are almost just as big as his little ears! He doesn't pull or tug at them either. In fact, during the fitting he was laughing at the audiologist, whereas most babies will throw a fit that you are sticking something in their ear!

Ok, so this is the chart they use to show levels of sound and what people hear. As you can see, normal hearing is the green line, or 20 decibels and lower. Moderate hearing loss is 41 to 55 decibels. Moderately severe is 56 to 70 decibels. Severe is 71 to 89. Profound is 91 to 120 decibels. Basically what this is saying is that without hearing aids, this is what Seth is hearing. They put little pictures on the scale so you can imagine what decibel that sound is. The frequency is the high or low pitch of the sound.

So for Seth, in the right ear, at 500 HZ he measures at 90 decibels (profound in the low tones). At 1000 HZ, 85 decibels (severe in the mid tones), At 4000 HZ, 65 decibels (moderately severe in the high tones). Basically saying that he hears higher tones in his right ear better than any other tone. I knew he loved mommy's voice and wasn't smiling for nothing!

In the left ear, at 500 HZ, 75 decibels (severe in the low tones). At 1000 HZ, 90 decibels (profound in the mid tones). At 4000 HZ, 75 decibels (severe in the high tones). So, for the left ear he hears high and low pitch sounds rather than the mid tones. So basically he can say he can't hear you unless you talk to him in a really deep voice, or a really high squeaky voice!

So, anyways, I hope this doesn't bore you too much, but I find it interesting and thought I'd share. Now you know the truth of the matter. Oh, and the bone conduction test suggests that the hearing loss is sensorineural, meaning it's coming from the cochlea and not the mid ear, which means it's permanent. I think I'm going to go into something pediatric when I grow up. Or neonatal. I'm just getting to familiar with all this stuff.