In my past life as a working woman, back before I was a mom, I worked for the March of Dimes. One of the things the Dime was working on during my time there was increasing the number of state mandated newborn screening tests.
I didn’t think much about it. I was happy to help other people’s children. Let me emphasize, OTHER people’s children. Even though I didn’t have kids I was sure I wouldn’t need those tests. Newborn screening tests only benefit imperfect children. Mine, of course, would be perfect.
Those tests were for other people’s children until May 30th when Alvy failed the hearing portion of the newborn screening. That day the other people became us.
I was told not to worry. Babies fail the hearing test all the time, especially c-section babies. Most of the time they still have fluid in their ears and that causes them to fail the test. They would come back the next day with better equipment and retest.
The next day he failed again. Twice. We were referred to an audiologist but still told not to worry. Sometimes it takes a couple weeks for the fluid to dry up.
At their direction I didn’t worry. He obviously could hear. He startles at the sound of a voice in a quiet room or when the dog barks and he wakes when he hears loud noises while sleeping. So when we went to the audiologist Monday I really didn’t expect to hear anything other than “he’s fine.”
Needless to say I wasn’t quite prepared to hear the phrase “hearing loss”. After two hours of testing it was determined that Alvy can’t hear certain high frequency sounds which will eventually lead to speech problems and delays. Our one month old little boy needs hearing aids.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t make this mommy feel much better. I’m coping with the realization that my little boy isn’t perfect, at least not in the way I thought he would be. Though I know he’s still perfect in his own way and is exactly the way he should be.
Where do we go from here? Alvy has to be retested when he’s three months old. In the meantime we need to see an ENT to have him fitted with hearing aids. After that we get to go back to the audiologist every six months until he’s three years old for monitoring. It’s possible he will need speech therapy down the line but we will just take that as it comes.
This isn’t something Alvy will grow out of. It won’t get better; it actually could get worse. Luckily it was caught very early thanks to the newborn screening test and it hopefully it won’t affect his development too much. Right now, I couldn’t be more thankful for the newborn hearing test…you know, for other people’s kids.