Laylee got her hearing aids last week, launching us into a whole new world of joy and wellness and a place where Dan and I can no longer whisper things above her head without the risk of her overhearing.
We spent 2 hours with a very kind and thorough audiologist who covered everything from how to clean “ear whacks” out of the rubber molds to how to purchase new batteries. We left with piles of hearing aid-related paraphernalia, including a small stuffed gopher with his own replica hearing devices velcroed to his ears.
I was amazed at how precise the process was for fitting and making sure that they boost the exact frequencies she lacks without overloading her on sounds she already hears just fine and I was relieved that they were able to shut off the volume controls so she doesn’t accidentally turn them way up or way down.
I’m sort of fascinated with these new removable body parts and find it strange and exciting to listen through them with my tiny hearing aid stethoscope. They sound tinny and electronic to me but supposedly that’s because they’re boosting frequencies that I already hear just fine.
Once we got home I had a really hard time not turning into the Verizon guy coming up behind her and whispering, “Can you hear me now?” every thirty seconds.
At one point on the second day she came up with a little experiment. She went to the bottom of the stairs and had me whisper something to her from the top of the stairs. Grinningly she repeated back what I had said, “Ah-HA! Now you can have no more secrets from me unless I’m asleep.” Then she turned off the hearing aids and had me whisper something else.
Me [whispering at the same volume as before]: I’m so glad you love your ballet class so much.
Laylee: Hm. I could still hear that too, even without my hearing aids. I guess my ears are okay.
Me: Really? What did I say?
Laylee: You just said, “SHWSHWSHWSHWSHWSH.”
Me: Um. Nope.
Sitting on my bed that morning, I was talking to Laylee when she suddenly asked me to be quiet. So I stopped talking and a huge grin filled her face. She said she could hear her dad’s shower ALL THE WAY IN THE NEXT ROOM! She was totally amazed by something I hear every day.
Now it’s not all peach-flavored Twizzlers and roses around here in the land of super hearing. Within minutes of getting them turned on for the first time, Magoo came up to her and started mouthing words with no sound coming out, causing her to strain to hear and become very concerned. He thought it was hilarious.
Also, as the audiologist predicted, she’s had a little trouble with distraction and confusion with all the new sounds coming at her. Where once she could carry on a discussion while Magoo lost his mind loudly in the next room, she now can’t hold a train of thought if he’s mumbling by her side. She’s seemed a little overwhelmed at times and over-stimulated. For this reason, the doctor suggested we wait a few days before letting her wear them to school. She begged us to cave and let her wear them all the time but we remained firm through the weekend and I’m glad we did.
Today I went with her to her kindergarten class and read all the kids a story about a little elephant with hearing loss who goes through the process of getting hearing aids. When I’d finished I told them about hers while she modeled like Vanna White and explained that they were just like glasses for her ears to help her have super hearing. Then I asked if they had any questions. Several hands shot up and the question period went something like this:
“I have a brother with glasses and he wears them.”
“My dad wears glasses AND my uncle Steve.”
“That’s so great. Any more questions?”
“My mom has WHITE glasses.”
Repeat and fade…