This post made possible through the support of Cochlear. All opinions are my own
They are huge.
They give us moments of happiness, of worry, of anxiety, and pride! It's SO exciting to see when our littles have achieved a developmental milestone.
She loved being read to (I legit read Jane Austen to her! Ha!), she smiled, babbled, sat up, crawled, discovered her toes and made her wants known.
Then, one day they were gone. Every achievement. Every milestone. Gone with one severe traumatic brain injury. Em had to go through emergency brain surgery. Parts of her brain and skull were removed due to her brain dying and swelling. I will never forget when she first woke from the coma after three weeks.
She didn't respond to sounds or sights. Everybody was concerned that she was now deaf and blind.
Thankfully, she wasn't. She does, however, still have delays with her speech and language and she still fails hearing tests. She has had an ABR test done on her twice. An ABR is an auditory brainstem response test. It gives information about the inner ears and the brain pathways. She passed both times. It was worrisome especially with all her other disabilities.
Emma is still behind her milestones, especially with hearing, understanding, speech and language. She's brain damaged and with her brain having trouble processing what its hearing, things just get crossed. It's very frustrating for her and all that work with her. Her previous speech language therapist was amazing and was VERY experienced with traumatic brain injuries and I learned so much about HOW the brain, the ears (hearing) and speech work together and how to work WITH her and not AGAINST her.
There are many signs of hearing loss to look out for in the graphics below.
There are also different types of hearing loss.
I worked in an audiology practice for awhile. I was the site billing specialist and also helped patients find a way to afford hearing aids (insurance, financing, grants, community funding, etc.). There was NOTHING in this world like seeing somebody get to HEAR clearly for the first time in a long time. The tears and smiles were a beautiful thing.
Did you know that hearing loss is the 2nd most prevalent global health issue, affecting more than those with Parkinson’s, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s and diabetes combined.(1)? Jaw dropping isn't it?
Have you heard of Cochlear Implants? Cochlear has been around around for 30 years and they are THE global leader of implantable hearing solutions. They provide the VERY well known Cochlear Implant, bone conduction and acoustic implants. The devices are designed to treat a range of moderate to profound types of hearing loss. They have helped over 450,000 people have access to sound.
People like Natalie Su.
Communication is crucial for parents and children. Cochlear knows this and this is why they are SO passionate about connecting parents who want their children to have access to hearing to help with language and communication so they can live life without limits! Cochlear provides support for parents, information, connection and stories.
IWantYouToHear.com is a fantastic resource for families. Interested in an implantable device for your child 12 months and older? Locate a provider to provide a consultation. Feel alone? You're not. There are so many beautiful stories available from those who have been where you and your child are now.
Thirty Million Words is an amazing initiative that wants to close the language gap and help parents focus on Tuning In (LISTENING and truly HEARING children and what they are communicating), Talking More (talking with children to help grow their vocabulary and ability to articulate clearly) and Taking Turns (encouraging kids to respond to adults' words and/or actions). It's so important that we do these. I am guilty of always being in a hurry and NOT slowing down and Tuning In, Talking More and Taking Turns.
Have you or somebody you know experienced hearing loss? Have you experienced a scare?
 Hearing Health Foundation. Hearing Loss & Tinnitus Statistics [Internet]. 2016 [cited 23 February 2016]. Available from: http://hearinghealthfoundation.org/statistics.