Thursday, September 11, 2014

New Hearing Aids

Yesterday the girls and I left at 6 a.m. to drive to Little Rock for an audiologist appointment.  (Little Rock is about 3.5 hours away).  (Don't worry - I wasn't driving when I took this picture - I was in a Sonic parking lot where I was getting caffeine.) 

One thing we needed while we were there was new ear molds.  Up until this year, Harper would scream and cry and turn purple like someone was cutting off her leg when they did the ear molds.  I know the pink stuff must feel so funny but it has been a DREADFUL experience.  Yesterday, she looked at Mrs. Jan (our audiologist) and said "I need that pink stuff" and was asking to get the molds made and then smiled the whole time.  It's amazing what time and age can do! 

It's always fun to let Harper pick out what color ear mold she wants.  She has had pink and purple and sparkly gold.  She told me in the car she wanted white but last minute she changed to a sparkly purple color! I'm just thankful picking the colors helps her to like the hearing aids. 

We spent a lot of time in the sound booth testing out her hearing aids.  I didn't take a picture of Harper with her audiologist yesterday like I normally do but she is such a gift to our family.  She knows we drive a long way so she always takes HOURS to spend with Harper and does everything she can to help her.  She is one of the biggest blessings to us. 

Arkansas Children's Hospital is so nice and has a beautiful outdoor area with a playground near the NICU.  We went out there to play and take a snack break during testing.  Harper has to work so hard for hours that she needed a little time to run around.  And little sister has to try and keep still and quiet for hours in the sound booth - not an easy task. 

We have had loaner hearing aids for a few months while we waited to order new ones.  We had ordered these shiny purple hearing aids.  You only need new hearing aids maybe every 3-4 years and it's been less than that for us but both Jan and our speech therapists felt like a different pair of hearing aids might help Harper to hear and with her speech.  

Unfortunately after we did testing with these new aids, Jan wasn't seeing the improvement she had hoped for. 

So we tried out a pair like this that are larger and more powerful.  The pair we got is a shiny Razorback red.  Harper was pretty excited about it and didn't seem to mind that it was larger and heavier.  We tested with those and didn't see a great difference either.  But we are going to try them out for a few weeks and then go back in October to test again.

I try to gloss over Harper's hearing loss and tie it up with a shiny happy pink bow most of the time when I talk about it because 1. I know in the grand scheme of life it's nothing compared to what so many others are dealing with and 2. I want to be positive about it.  I feel like if we always remain positive and teach Harper to just adjust her way of life and that she can do anything anyone else can, it is better than to let her think we are sad or feel defeated.  (But I also encourage her to talk to me honestly about how she feels or if she is struggling in school or if kids ever make fun of her).

Yesterday, I felt a little discouraged.  I think in my heart of hearts I felt like hearing aids helped her to hear almost normal and I'm realizing because of the way her loss is, there are frequencies and sounds she will never hear correctly.  And that makes it hard for her when it comes to speech and learning and just every day life.  You would never know it if you knew her because she is always a bundle of joy and never complains about her hearing loss and her kindergarten teacher even told me she would never know Harper had loss if we hadn't told her.  She works so hard and is doing amazing at school.

I just hate the struggles she will face.  I try to put on a game face and know she can do anything but I also know there will be hard times ahead.  Her audiologist was so kind and so helpful and honest talking to me about options yesterday but my heart sank a little.

I think there will always be ups and downs on this journey.  Honestly for the last 3.5 years, it's been mostly ups.  I had a little down yesterday but we are just going to press on and do the very best we can to help Harper navigate life.  She will never know any different and I think she has great things in store for her.

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