As many of you know, my daughter was born with moderate to severe hearing loss. She has been wearing hearing aids since she was about four months old. While the hearing aids have done an amazing job at restoring much of her hearing, there are times when I am really reminded that she does not hear well.
Tonight Erica went out with some friends and I stayed home with the kids. I don’t always notice Ella’s hearing loss when Erica is home, because I think Ella has an easier time hearing Erica’s voice because it is a higher pitch. People who don’t have hearing loss have a hard time hearing me, though I don’t think I mumble or anything like that. But when I was home with Ella tonight, I really felt like I was yelling at her all night long.
Ella has also learned how to turn her hearing aids off, which doesn’t help things. I don’t always think to check if her hearing aids are on when she has them in her ears, but I guess I better start. I noticed later tonight that they were both turned off. I think she turns them off if they start giving her feedback. Whenever she lays down or has something close to her ears they make that high pitched screeching sound, and I’m sure this bothers her. When I hug her, she can’t put her head next to mine or else I can hear her hearing aids giving feedback.
While her hearing loss has made some things more difficult, there are other things that I love that have happened as a result. We’ve had to learn a little sign language to be able to communicate with her for times when she won’t be able to wear her hearing aids, like going to bed, taking a bath or swimming in a pool. We don’t know a lot of sign language yet, but we will need to learn more as time goes on. One of the most precious things is to see her make the “I love you” sign. For a while, it looked more like “Hang Ten” with only her thumb and pinky finger up, but now she can actually make the sign. It’s so cute when she looks up at you from across the room and without any words, holds her little hand up and smiles. It makes my heart melt every time.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not having a pity party. I don’t think that her hearing loss defines who she is. I just really noticed it tonight more than usual. It doesn’t matter to me if she is a “typically functioning” kid or not, I think she is one of a kind and I love her with all my heart!