Last Thursday Courtney had a hearing test. I was a little apprehensive about going by myself because the last time she had one was one week after we found out about her hearing loss and it was all I could do to keep myself from sobbing. I knew she had been hearing somethings, but I didn't want to get my hopes up.
At our session at Sunshine Cottage on Tuesday we discussed the speech banana. For those who don't know, the speech banana represents the range needed to acquire speech. I have included a sample audiogram that illustrates the speech banana and other levels of hearing. Normal hearing is in the 0-25dB range which would mean that a person could hear everything from 25dB until 110dB and beyond. Each level of hearing loss has a range and Courtney, being profoundly deaf, is in the 90 -120dB range. When she had her ABR done she had no response in either ear at 125dB. She can't even hear herself let alone a jet plane!
Typically, with hearing aids you can move up about 30dB's. It is also much easier to hear the low sounds (staying to the left on the audiogram) such as the hum of a lawn mower, or for speech the "mm" and "baba" sounds. Courtney, with her hearing aids on, was able to respond to speech sounds at 70dB! This explains why she heard a vacuum, hairdryer, bells, and occasionally, Bryan's voice. After we celebrated her hearing a sound in the booth, she would ever so sweetly look up and smile as if to say, "Mommy, I did it, I did it!" It was amazing. She went up by over 50dB, way to go girl! She has also been making a lot more noises, including "mmm". Most likely it is because aided she can hear herself making that sound.
As you can see, she is only at the 70dB level which isn't enough to acquire speech, but does means she is still a prime candidate for cochlear implants. The hearing test confirmed our decision to do simultaneous bilateral cochlear implants and the fact that she is hearing something. This is stimulating her brain and laying the pathways for when she does get her CIs. Basically, when we turn her on, it won't be the very first time for her to hear anything at all. They think that it will help her to be more successful with the CIs when she gets them.
So, if we can get through to the insurance company to see if they will pay for bilateral simultaneous CIs, we will be good to go!