Because I Adore, Cherish, and Appreciate Redundancy

August 9, 2007 @ 10:51 pm | Filed under: , , ,

I will repeat what I just wrote in an email to a fellow ClubMom blogger whose toddler son, the delicious Noah (over whom I have drooled in person), is going through the same Early Intervention evaluation process Wonderboy went through a couple of years ago. Noah has been diagnosed with speech delay, and I feel a bizarre and probably obnoxious urge to welcome Amy to the club. She mentioned on her blog that although they think hearing loss is not likely in his case, Noah will be undergoing a diagnostic hearing screen soon, to be safe.

And that prompted me to spout forth a great deal of unsolicited advice about how to get most out of a toddler hearing screen. Then it occurred to me that that’s what ClubMom is paying me for, to spout forth unsolicited advice on this here blog. So spout I shall.

When Wonderboy was an infant, his hearing tests were the auditory brainstem kind I wrote about here. But once he was a year old and had his hearing aids, his periodic testing shifted to a sound booth. Kids with aids need testing on a regular basis, to make sure the settings are right. As the child gets older and more responsive in the booth, the audiologist can better fine-tune the settings.

For a child under four, the big challenge of the sound booth hearing test is understanding what the audiologist wants him to do. Typically, the child will be in the booth with a parent or the audiologist’s assistant. The audi is behind a window, pushing buttons on her fancy machine. The child (or his helper) holds a toy or block up to his ear, and he’s
wearing little earplugs that pipe in sound, and when he hears a sound
he’s supposed to put the block in a basket or something. Then a little
monkey* in the corner bangs a toy drum and FREAKS HIM OUT. At
least that’s how it goes with Wonderboy. The drum-banging is supposed to be the payoff
for responding to the sound but Wonderboy suspects the monkey wants to eat

*(Sometimes the monkey is a rabbit.)

I don’t know why they never tell you in advance, but you can help this test go
much better by doing some prep work. You can play the
hold-the-block-to-your-ear-and-slam-dunk-it-when- I-go-beep game at home to get
him used to how the whole thing works. It’s good to hold a card or
something in front of your
mouth so he has to listen for the beep instead of watching you open
your mouth. Also try it with shhhh and ssss sounds, and clicks, and whispering of all sorts.

The first time we did this kind of hearing screen, it was a
big waste of time because Wonderboy didn’t know what to do. The audiologist
told me no worries, the first time is mainly to train the child to do
the test and we should come back next week. I wanted to scream because Scott had lost half a day of work to take care of the other kids so I could go to this appointment, and now
we were going to have to repeat the whole process. I would have had Wonderboy practice, had I but known. (Had I but known Google Reader.)


Say! I don’t think I ever showed you my snazzy blue ear molds. And after my nutty mother made you look at all those How Ear Molds Are Made pictures and everything!

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8 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. alli says:

    I have a friend who’s son is deaf. He just had a cochlear implant activated and is now going to auditory access training with his mother. She just wrote a lovely post about the parent-student-teacher triangle model that she sees in their lessons. Your post reminded me of that.

  2. matilda says:

    Oh, he is super cute! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Jennifer says:

    My eldest has CAP and it was really hard for the testing. My youngest probably has CAP but I don’t want to go through the testing again…LOL
    I can’t believe he cooperated for all that! Those ear molds are snazzy!

  4. Laane says:

    Makes me remember…

    My autistic son had to go for a test.

    All sorts of colored things were at the other side of the room, within sight.

    He was supposed to turn to the sound, but his mind was fixed on studying the colours of his surroundings.

    He was declaired deaf.

    I knew better.

    I sat him with the toys, went to the other side of the room and whispered his name.

    The nurse started to feel better than anyone else. She diagnosed him well…she thought.

    Then I opened my bag, moved the plastic of his cookies just within hearing range.
    He jumped up, ran to my bag and grapsed for the cookies.

  5. marye says:

    One of our sons was born with one ear missing and of course we have undergone all the tests. We have not yet determined if reconstructive surgery is an option for us. He is now 8 and his speech is improving daily with hard work. Once they learn to read I find that helps alot!

  6. marye says:

    One of our sons was born with one ear missing and of course we have undergone all the tests. We have not yet determined if reconstructive surgery is an option for us. He is now 8 and his speech is improving daily with hard work. Once they learn to read I find that helps alot!

  7. Tracy says:

    Thank you for sharing this – it’s very useful to me. My youngest has global delays, especially speech. We do know that he can hear – thanks to many tests (ABR – twice. sedated and non-sedated. I think it’s pretty well definitive at this point) – but the hearing test in the box has been useless to us. He will have it again, since he keeps having middle ear problems.

    I keep asking what they will want him to do – maybe I will just see if I can teach him to do this, and then we’ll tell THEM what to do (joking – kind of – it’s a longggg story and frustrating).

    Anyway, I keep coming back and this is one reason why. “News” I can use!

  8. Sara G says:

    I’ve always wondered what the monkey and drum were for in the booth!!! I think I’d be scared too. Practicing at home is a great idea. I didn’t lose my hearing until I was 14, so I have no idea how the tests work for toddlers, this was interesting to read about.