Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Bubba's Ears

Sy and I have been a little concerned about Bubba Lou's hearing. Well, I'll be was Sy more than me. I just figured BL was being a 5 year old and not listening to me. By her choice.

Brought our concerns to her 5 year check up (and to her teachers.) She "failed" the hearing test. I was told I could wait a year and see if it changed. Thankfully, followed my maternal instincts and said "no, I want to see a specialist. She's starting to read and loves school, I do not want even a slight hearing issue to affect that. I want a more exact exam and diagnosis."

Once I mentioned it, BL's teachers noticed that when they called the class to line up, BL didn't always seem to hear them unless there was direct line-of-sight. They started making a point to get her eye contact and found it helped immensely. We do the same thing at home. We've been making a point to get her attention and make sure she's looking at us...ears pointed at us tend to hear much better. Her teachers are so very helpful and supportive.

Saw the specialist 2 weeks ago. One of BL's eardrums was "amber" colored, a sign that fluid had been built up in her ear for an extended time. I was also informed that her pediatrician should have seen it and recommended treatment (BL's dark circles are also a sign of extended congestion in the sinuses and ears...not lack of sleep.) BL's hearing was tested by playing games in a sound-proof box through a head set. They also by-passed the fluid in her ear to measure nerve movement (normal in our case, which is what you want.) One of BL's little ears has mild hearing loss, the other moderate. They told me it's like people are whispering at her all day. Can you imagine? Add that to the single-mindedness of a 5 year old, and of course she doesn't hear me.

BL will see an ear/nose/throat specialist in early March to determine the best treatment. Could be medicine for allergies, could be tubes. At this point, I'm just so happy this is reversible, I'll do whatever they tell me to. I wish I could get in sooner, but that's the earliest they could do.

The specialist actually thanked me for listening to my own instincts, since left untreated, the hearing loss could be permanent. How many kids out there are labeled as "stupid", "unmotivated", "distracted", that teachers say are a problem and don't pay attention, that have trouble learning to read simply can't hear at a level that is considered normal?

BL has only had 2 ear infections in 5 years. Caught and treated. No high fevers, no complaints of ear pain, none of the typical signs that say "ear infection." Just chronic fluid build-up that seems normal to her, doesn't cause pain, but doesn't go away or flare up so Mama and Daddy go to the doctor.

Even if you think it's silly, or you think your kid just doesn't listen...get their hearing checked. And see the specialist, the test they do doesn't rely on knowing right from left, or coordinating the sound you're hearing with the correct hand. By Easter, BL should be hearing a pin drop, sleeping better, and shouldn't have dark circles under her sweet little eyes.

I guess I'll really have to start watching my language.