We’re not unusual…

If you were to see us on the street you wouldn’t think there was anything unusual about our family. You would see two parents and four kids (two boys and two girls) ranging in ages from 13 to 6 years old. We are somewhat loud and excitable, but overall we appear to be a perfectly normal family. And we are. We just happen to have four people in our family with hearing losses.

And it’s okay. Hearing loss runs in my family. My siblings and I all have varying degrees of hearing loss, although my parents do not. We were not completely surprised when our oldest son was diagnosed with a moderate hearing loss at six weeks old. His sister was also diagnosed at six weeks old with a more severe loss. They were fitted with aids at 1 year and 2 ½ years old. Their adjustment to their aids was quite uneventful. Our youngest daughter (with a mild loss) was fitted with aids at six months old. We see dramatic improvement with the aids.

We were determined to get them speech therapy at a young age (starting as young as eight weeks old). We think that every hour you spend on speech therapy at a young age, you will save many, many hours of speech therapy when they’re older. Our goal always was that our children would have normal speech. We were involved with birth to three program through the state and also supplemented with private speech therapy through our insurance. It did seem like we spent many hours at the therapists’ offices, but looking back, I can’t think of a better investment for our kids.

Maybe because having a hearing loss is not that unusual in our family, our kids do fine. There are still many days when they don’t want to wear their aids. There are many times that they feel sad about being different because they have to wear hearing aids. They profit immensely from the Sound Experience group (for families with hearing impaired kids) at Children’s Memorial Hospital. Seeing other kids with hearing aids helps them feel like they are not alone. Our youngest son has normal hearing and he doesn’t see anything unusual about his siblings or himself.

We’ve been dealing with kids with hearing impairments for over thirteen years. It was a lot of work at the beginning dealing with everything. Now, it is only a minor inconvience and requires a little extra work to keep the aids working and get the kids the services they require at school. But we have four healthy, happy kids and a wonderful family.

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