Collin had a hearing test today because the doctors who reviewed our request for additional hours of therapy through his Early Intervention program require it whenever there is a communication delay. Collin's developmental delays are global, so they wanted to make sure he didn't have a hearing issue before they gave us more hours of speech therapy. The test he had is called an ABR and it was a fairly painless procedure.
Collin just cleared his throat, which means, 'Easy for YOU to say.' He was less than enthusiastic about the little tube they had to put in his ear to deliver the sounds to which they were monitoring his response. It was a soft, tiny, flexible tube and it didn't even go all the way in his ear because his ear canals are ridiculously small, so it just kind of sat there. He tried to pull it out approximately 49 times and whenever one of the higher frequency noises came through, he sort of growled and thrashed his head from side to side since I was holding his hands.
About halfway through, I had pretty much resigned myself to the fact that Collin had hearing loss. The test wasn't picking up the appropriate response at the low frequencies and at this point in the game you have just developed a sense that tells you when things aren't going well. So, I wasn't surprised when they told me that we would need to come back for more testing to determine more about Collin's hearing loss. My mind was racing and my heart was sinking, but I wasn't surprised.
But then one of the women administering the test (who were both wonderful and helpful, thank goodness) had an idea to try one more test that would test Collin's hearing in a way that bypassed his inner ear. And the result was completely normal. So then they did a tympanogram to see whether he had fluid in his ears and the line that was supposed to have a tall peak was almost completely flat. So, the answer to all of this is that Collin has fluid in his ears, which means that his hearing is like trying to listen under water. His pediatrician is having us do nose drops 6 or 7 times a day to see if it clears up on its own and if it doesn't we'll start him on an antihistamine.
I'm still just not used to finding simple, nonscary answers for things. Something happens to you when you look up your baby's gas pain movements on the internet and find that he has a seizure disorder that will change the rest of your life and his. It's like your brain has this incorrect but very real-feeling 'a-ha' moment in which it realizes that all of the things it secretly fears really can happen and that some things it doesn't even anticipate can happen too. And now that my brain is stuck in that way of thinking, I think it's going to take a lot more experiences like this hearing test to bring it back to a more moderate reality in which sometimes the terrible things do happen, but sometimes they don't.