Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Little Ears Update

Yesterday Sophie had another appointment with Miss Dena, her audiologist. PRAISE GOD that all of her results remain consistent with what they have always been. This is such wonderful news, mainly because Sophie's hearing loss isn't getting worse! Since we have no family history of hearing loss at birth, and we don't know what caused Sophie's loss, there was no way to anticipate what it meant in the future for her. A year-and-a-half of extremely consistent results is an amazing blessing!

I'll try to explain exactly what kind of hearing loss Sophie has. The picture below is of what's called a "speech banana" (you can see the letters on the graph - the speech sounds - fall in a rough banana-like shape... hence, the name "banana").

What this diagram is showing is where different sounds typically occur in our range of hearing. Sounds have high or low frequencies (the numbers listed across the top). Each frequency of sound can be delivered at a different level of decibels (the numbers listed along the left side) - this is how loud or soft that sound is.

As an example: if you look near the middle of the graph there's a piano. The graph shows that the piano is found at around 1,000 Hz (the frequency), but is delivered to our ears at about 80 decibels (dB) on average (the loudness).

When a child has hearing loss, the main concern is to make sure they develop their speech and language normally (because, of course, we learn those things by hearing them!). Sophie's hearing loss is categorized as borderline mild hearing loss. In both ears, Sophie hears all sounds at around the 20-25 dB range. I shaded this in red so you can see where it falls on the graph.

So, if you looks closely, most of the sounds of speech fall below where Sophie's loss is, and she should be able to hear them just fine. There are a few sounds, though, that fall right around the area of her loss, such as the "f, s, th, p" sounds. These sounds are typically not developed until a child is in elementary school, so we'll just keep watching and waiting to see if she acquires them on her own or needs some help.

In the meantime, there is a speech therapist coming to see Sophie about every 3 months to help me make sure that Soph continues to develop right where she should be for her age. So far, she always says Sophers is doing great. She asked me to keep a list of the words Sophie says, and it keeps expanding all the time! Of course, she doesn't say the words perfectly (many of them most people probably wouldn't recognize), but I was adding to her list today and realized that she has over 30 words that she uses! One of my current favorites is, "Amen," which sounds like "ah-neh." She loves to chime in at the end of prayers with this one (and sometimes in the middle if we're taking too long).

Our incredible God can take any situation and make it beautiful, and that is precisely what he's doing with our Sophie!


katie said...

How wonderful that her results are staying consistent! God is good!

Harrold Family said...

I am glad she is being consistent. Praise the Lord!

Phelps family said...

That's great news. And I think you will be so happy to have a list of what she's saying. I wish I had done a better job of keeping a list for Carly. I wrote down the first five or so words on the calendar, but after that I have already forgotten when she started saying some things. Anyway, I think the list will have added meaning for you. And wow! 30 words! I'm so impressed. Isaac has said a few but not nearly that many and he doesn't even say those ones very often. Lee's convinced that he asked Shawn "Who was that?" when he got off the phone tonight. Hmm, not so sure of the complete sentence just yet.