Friday, April 10, 2009
What little Maddie could hear sounded an awful lot like Charlie Brown's teacher.
Maddie has marked all kinds of anniversaries over the last few months.
The day she first met us...
The first anniversary of going to court...
The one year mark of Shad and I becoming her parents...
The 365th day since leaving the orphanage...
And of course the one year anniversary of stepping off that plane, onto U.S. soil and becoming a U.S. citizen.
But of all of those firsts, this one may be the most special.
Today marks the one year anniversary of Maddie hearing for the first time.
Maddie was born with bilateral microtia and artresia...which means she was born without external ears. Well, she has some little nubs, but there is no external canal to let the sound into the ear drum. Thankfully all of her internal ear mechanics work perfectly.
So for the first four years of her life, Maddie suffered from a moderate hearing loss. What little she COULD hear sounded an awful lot like Charlie Brown's teacher.
A muffled mish-mash of nothing.
Sort of like this. (click on moderate hearing loss)
That hearing loss cheated her out of hearing most consonants...robbing her of much of her speech sounds. It wasn't so much the volume that was the problem - although it is a concern. Its that with every decibel of hearing loss, you also lose the ability to hear consonants like t, s, sh, f, th...
You get the picture.
So up until that point, Maddie hadn't heard much of anything...in fact she was lip reading in order to get by.
A 3-year-old...lip reading. I told you she was one smart cookie.
One year ago everything changed.
We took Maddie to Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., for a fitting for a BAHA hearing aid. A type of bone-conduction hearing aid (since she doesn't have any ears to put a hearing aid into, the sound has to be conducted by the bones in her skull.)
We knew this was going to be a big day for our little girl...so we took our video camera along. I'm so glad we did. Her reaction was priceless.
So, on this the one year anniversary of our daughter being able to truly hear for the first time, I give you 'Maddie hears'.
A few quick note before you travel down memory lane. The audiologist doesn't turn the hearing aid on until a little later in the video...Maddie's reaction is pure joy to watch! ;)
And grab a box of kleenex. You'll need them. ;)