Hi everyone, we thought we'd share a bit more information on Xander, he has Microtia and Atresia on the left side only. His right ear generally works, not as well as it should but good enough to hear generally. And certainly a lot better than his left (moderately-severe hearing loss) side. This picture of him is one of our favorites. It’s the first time he wore his hearing aid, so much joy in just one photo.
Here is a little more information on the importance of bilateral hearing, http://www.2ears2hear.org.uk/why.htm
So how does unilateral hearing loss affect Xander? He has difficulty * :
– telling where a sound is coming from
– hearing in noisy situations
– understanding what someone says unless they’re close by
– hearing when someone speaks on the ‘bad’ side.
With Xander, once we got the hearing aid (Originally the Contact Mini on a softband, now a Bernafon Extreme on hardband) we noticed a MASSIVE difference in his ability to hear us, at home, and especially in noisy situations. He does not hear well in Shopping Centers, Airports, kid’s parties, and in the future, the Classroom, due to the lack of bilateral hearing, he cannot filter the noise and focus on what he is trying to hear. He is also unable to tell where the sound is coming from; crossing the road will be something we have to ensure he double checks with his eyes.
Based on the observations we have made with Xander, without aiding, he seems to ignore us a lot more (likely because he cannot hear us) , he gets very frustrated with instructions, but with aiding, he is responsive, his speech is clearer and far more pronounced, and the improvement to his listening and hearing, is almost unbelievable. He still needs work with his speech, so we see a speech therapist regularly.
So basically what the surgery will achieve is Xander, will be able to hear to the point of being able to locate sounds (Think crossing the road), and filter out the background noise, from which some of these benefits he is unable to get with a hearing aid. This in turn will leave him far less frustrated, and hopefully help him begin a journey into his life with more confidence and focus than before.
* Information sources from http://www.aussiedeafkids.org.au/your-baby-has-a-unilateral-hearing-loss-whats-the-next-step.html