Mikisa got her hearing aids this week. her little ears will be permanently adorned with computerized amplification devices powered by tiny batteries. we are just now testing the waters and learning all that is involved with the care and upkeep of these hearing aids. it is intense! we have to check the batteries every day, and they die within 10 to 14 days. [i guess we’ll be going through a lot of batteries]. we also have to do a test “listen” every morning before putting the hearing aids in. then, at night, we have to clean and dry the earmolds. she will outgrow them in about 3 months so we’ll have to go back in to the audiologist and have her fitted for new ones. during the summer, the hearing aids need to be stored in a special “dry box” over night to take the moisture out of them. so yeah…we’re talking about a very involved process. but it’s incredible because these hearing aids allows Mikisa the gift of experiencing a whole new world of clearer sounds and better communication.
but she isn’t quite on board with these little hearing aids. not just yet. when the audiologist first put them in, Mikisa said “ow” and then started sobbing and trying to pull them out. then she left them in, but wouldn’t take her thumb out of her mouth and started rocking and retreating into her little world. i am sure that it is confusing for her to suddenly hear all these new sounds and to try to make sense of words that sounded so completely different without the amplification. imagine spending 6 years hearing everything as if you were underwater. she’s never heard high frequency sounds like “s” “f” “ch” “sh” and all word endings are muted. i heard a simulation of what her hearing is, and it’s bad. it’s very overwhelming and hard to distinguish one word from another. no wonder she has struggled so much with communication and learning to talk. wow. it’s actually amazing that she understands as much as she does.
it’s not a quick fix though. the new sounds are overwhelming and confusing for her. so while we are seeing tremendous progress with her speech in just a few short days with the hearing aids, we are also seeing an increase in negative behaviors and a significant lack of impulse control. she is struggling badly with transitions…lots of screaming, hitting and biting going on throughout the day. i’m sure it doesn’t help that she has pneumonia and her sleep schedule is totally wacked out thanks to our 5-hour stay to the emergency room the other night. oh, and she’s still adjusting to her new medication. so yeah. her world has [once again] been flipped upside down.
we are thankful that she has access to such great medical care. with all of this equipment; her walker, wheelchair, cane, ankle brace, shoe lift, knee immobilizer, wrist splint, and now hearing aids, she sure is decked out! and these “accessories”, combined with regular therapy, medication and lots of love, are helping her live life more fully and experience the world around her in a whole new, more meaningful way.