Many times people ask me why I talk so loud. I’ve always been a naturally loud person. My whisper isn’t quiet and my loud can be heard across the neighborhood. That’s okay though. One of the main reasons why I am loud, is so that my son can hear me.
Since Zachary has been a baby, he has failed every hearing test. When he was a baby, we figured it was just fluid on his ears. When he was a little boy (3-4) years old, we figured he just needed tubes placed in his ears like other kids with his condition. When Zachary was six years old, we had his hearing tested extensively and learned that Zachary only had approximately 20% hearing in his right ear.
Many times Zachary has to strain to hear a conversation and I often look over at him and see that he is lost in a conversation if another is speaking too quiet. Zachary has learned to compensate for hearing loss when he is not around others who know that he is partially deaf. He can read lips, he picks and chooses parts and focuses on putting those together to make sense, and he has no problem saying “what did you say?” in order to understand what is happening. Zachary sleeps at night with the television on and many times when I pass by Zachary’s bedroom, I comment to Scott about how loud it is. His response is always “it’s not that loud for Zach”.
While this year was difficult for Zachary at his first elementary school, one of the benefits of changing to a new elementary school was that Zachary was placed in a deaf and hard of hearing school. Zachary is surrounded by other students who are experiencing the same disabilities that he is. Other kids have hearing aids, the teachers use amplification systems, and Zachary feels right at home knowing that he is like other students.
After debating about whether or not to get hearing aids for Zachary or to see what other options were available, we were so blessed to be able to meet Dr. Hotchstim at CHLA. Dr. Hotchstim, besides having a wonderful bedside manner, is definitely on the cutting edge of medical technology which can greatly change my son’s life. On Wednesday, Zachary will be going to CHLA to have some bones replaced in his ear in order to help him hear from his right ear. When Zachary was born, the bones didn’t develop properly, and these bones will be replaced in order to help restore Zachary’s hearing.
Scott and I are both excited and nervous. Excited because our little boy will no longer have to read lips, he won’t have to feel like he isn’t part of a quiet conversation, he’ll actually be able to hear us when we whisper, he won’t have to turn to his “good” ear in order to hear and because he’ll be able to lower the volume on his television. We are nervous because there are always complications associated with a surgery and we are so hopeful that this will work for our Zachary.
We’re keeping our fingers crossed and staying positive that everything will work out for our little Zachary. I’m waiting for the day when he tells me “Mom, you don’t have to yell.” Those will be music to my ears!