When Johann was born, newborn screening tests were just starting to take on. Good thing because it allowed us to get intervention early on. But then, as a first time mom, it was also very devastating to know that even before we went home from the hospital, something might be wrong with my baby.
I set aside the fear and just focused on caring for my new baby. At three months we went back to get the same results – referred on both ears. They will not tell you whether it is a pass or fail in the hearing screening test, just ‘refer’ if there is something to look at. The basic is the otoacoustic emission test (OAE) as a first step, then it will be more complicated to ensure that there is really hearing loss. We had our auditory brainstem response test (ABR) and auditory steady state response test (ASSR) into Johann’s sixth month and results were consistent. He has hearing loss on both ears.
The first big question was why and how. A review of my pregnancy didn’t reveal any instance to cause hearing loss. Genetics may play the part but we don’t know our medical histories well beyond our grandparents anymore.
Not knowing the answer though didn’t stop us in amplifying Johann. At seven months he put on his first set of hearing aids. Videos weren’t a big thing then but if it were, we would have gone viral!
We went in regularly for calibration of Johann’s hearing aids and for monitoring his hearing loss levels. He benefitted well from his hearing aids well into his toddler years. We were praying for a miracle for Johann and God sent us hearing aids.
Miracles come in different forms. It may not be what you expect, but it still is a miracle in itself.
This was our first miracle. Hearing aids twenty years ago weren’t as advanced as what Johann first had. His is already digital, with different modes and channels! Think of your cellphone when it needs to be in silent, normal, or loud mode. And just like cellphones, hearing aid technology advances through the years.
There suddenly was a better option for Johann! We hope that in the next years to come, hearing aid technology will become better and better that hearing will come almost as naturally for Johann. And this of course, was a major part of our unceasing prayers.
And technology did catch up! A few years later Johann’s hearing loss on his right ear had progressed and he needed cochlear implants. This 2017, Johann will have his cochlear implant. Truly, the miracle of hearing never ceases to amaze us.