Name: Chevone (Mom to Kai, age 6)
When did you first realize Kai had sensorineural hearing loss?
In 2011 I really struggled to understand him and we both got really frustrated to the point where he would burst out in tears. In August that year I took him for a speech assessment and the results were that he was delayed in many areas. He immediately started with speech therapy. One of the suggestions was for him to have a hearing test. This was done in December 2011, where Kai was diagnosed with a mild sensorineural hearing loss.
What sort of unique challenges did Kai have because of his sensorineural hearing loss?
Kai really struggled to hear in noisy environments. In the classroom he could not hear his teacher, on the playground he could not hear his friends unless they were standing right in front of him and they always had to tell him when the bell rang. His teacher also noted that he struggled to follow instruction during group activities and always looked at what the other children were doing. The television was also always at its fullest volume and he often could not hear me call him if I was not in the same room as him.
When did Kai get hearing aids and how did they help him with these challenges?
He got trial hearing aids at the end of June 2013 and I immediately noticed the increase in confidence within group settings. He started participating in the classroom and was no longer withdrawn. He also took less time to process the information that was presented to him verbally by his teacher. He has truly developed tremendously since wearing his hearing aids!
His interactions with his friends have also changed. Kai often expressed his frustration of not knowing if his friends and teachers were calling Kai or Sky (at the time they had a Sky and Skyla at his school as well). This uncertainty impacted his confidence on the playground as he would respond to things that were meant for Sky - he often only heard the “ai”. Thankfully, this is no longer an issue for him!
Was there an adjustment period when Kai was first fit with hearing aids?
He took to his hearing aids like a fish to water! There was no adjustment period. He loved knowing that what he thought he heard was in fact what was said. Kai says that there isn’t anything he doesn’t like about wearing hearing aids. He personalized his hearing aids with guitar stickers and isn’t afraid to show them off.
Just the other day an employee at a local pizza shop asked me if there is something wrong with his ears and what is he wearing. Before I could answer Kai said “I wear hearing aids and it helps me hear better.” He then took his one Widex hearing aid out and showed it to the guy! This was such a special moment and I was beaming with pride at this little guy!
How do you feel hearing aids will help Kai’s sensorineural hearing loss in the future?
With Kai going to mainstream school next year, I am confident that his hearing aids will compliment him in the bigger classroom setting. He has no issues with his hearing aids. Many of his friends are aware of his hearing aids and he is very confident in answering questions about them.
Read more about children and hearing loss here