Can You Hear Me Now?

At Lukas' speech assessment, his speech therapist was concerned that Lukas didn't seem to be hearing everything. This could account for his speech delay, so we scheduled a hearing evaluation. We went today and discovered a few interesting things.

1. His right ear has a bit of a problem. When testing his auditory reflex, there was a big difference in how his ears responded. I have been researching this and basically it can indicate that there is some sort of hearing issue, but will be discussing this further with another audiologist. (Interestingly enough since we had him screened for hearing issues just last week at the ENT and they had the same issues with the right ear.)

2. His right ear qualifies for a mild hearing loss classification. His threshold was 30dB, but not sure how reliable his results were though (more on this in a bit).

3. When he was looking at a book in the sound booth and a tone would play, there was NO response. None. This happened several times and while distracted, he does not respond to sound. This is something we see at home a lot. If he is watching TV or playing with a toy, there is no amount of screaming (yes, we've tried) or name calling that will get his attention. Nothing. This is SCARY when you think about safety issues - trying to keep him out of the street, away from a dog, etc. If he is focused, he will not hear his name or "STOP!" Not sure how we're going to address this.

So here is why I'm concerned about the reliability of the test.

Usually when in a hearing exam with little ones the following things happen:

1. A tone will sound.
2. A child will look toward the sound.
3. A toy (think monkey with cymbals or another noise maker) will start on the same side as the sound to reward the child for looking.

This didn't happen consistently in his test. I'm not sure if it was because of the audiologist or a kink in the testing system. (The booth and entire office is brand new).

What happened in Lukas' case went like this:

1. A tone would sound.
2. No response from Lukas.
3. The toy would start moving.
4. Lukas would hear the whirring of the toy (a bit like a quiet engine starting, but MUCH louder than the tone).
5. Lukas would turn and look at the toy.

This didn't happen the entire time, but often enough to make me wonder. Lukas was VERY difficult to test and so I'm not sure if it was intentional to see if he was hearing anything at all, but in my opinion if those were the tones that the audiologist was using as her thresholds, then the test wasn't accurate.

Again, I'm not exactly sure what results she was using and since I'm not an audiologist I really don't know, but it seemed weird.

But even with those results, he still has a mild hearing loss in his right ear. Not sure the implications of this or the affect it has on his speech, but its another answer - ish.

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