Sunday, October 4, 2009

Things I've learned from having a child with hearing aids

I admit that having a child with a visible disability (no matter how slight) makes me feel a little like I'm part of a special club. Not that my or my family's life is different from or more difficult than anybody else's, but strangers do treat me and Elliot a little differently. They just see a tragically charming baby with hearing aids, and they're left to make their own assumptions. Babies always get grins from strangers in the grocery store, but Elliot gets stares (from children and adults) and pitying smiles and questions. Lots of questions. Most often people ask, "How did you find out?" The funniest part is how they pretend not to notice until after they've already established conversation..."What a cutie! How old is he? What's his name? Oh, I see he has hearing aids! How did you find out?" if that's not the first thing they noticed. If that sounds irritated it's not meant to be. I've been surprised and pleased by the warmth that everyone shows to him. Generally I find that everyone is just curious and kind.

First story: Andy and I were at Smith's looking for something in the pharmacy section. Andy was holding Elliot and I was a few aisles away. When I looked back I saw a woman with some kids talking to them. Her son, an eight-year-old with hearing aids, said nothing, but he hugged Elliot. He'd had hearing aids since birth, too.

Second story: I took Elliot into the mothers' lounge in another ward. A few other women were already there, including one woman who had her young daughter (maybe five or six) waiting there while she fed the baby. The girl looked at Elliot, then whispered loudly to her mother, "I don't like babies that have those things on their ears." Her mother laughed and told her not to say that. I told her, "He would like you if you had them." Then her mother explained to her that Elliot needs hearing aids to help him hear just like she, the girl, needs glasses to help her see. And as they were getting ready to leave I let the girl listen to one of the hearing aids. Looking back she probably didn't care, but it was educational for me at least.

Honestly, it's not as big a deal as I feared it would be. Definitely doesn't match the dread and sadness we went through when we first found out he was hard of hearing. The biggest challenge will be the financial aspect, but fortunately we don't have to worry about that for now. His speech will develop normally because our excellent doctors got him his hearing aids before he was six months old, and as an adult he can opt for a CIC (completely in canal) model, so nobody will even see the hearing aids anymore. We've been blessed to the max throughout this whole thing.

So in conclusion: if your kid has to have a problem, I recommend this one.

6 reason(s) to click here:

Kanye West said...

Imma let you finish, but I just wanted to say that Elliot is the cutest baby of all time. Of all time!

PS, I almost definitely typed thyme instead of thyme. Apparently, my thoughts dictate to my fingers what to type, and they just get to do it.

krebscout said...

uh...hi Kanye

bekki said...

I feel a little bad because I forget that he has them. Is that bad? I'm sorry. I want to be mindful of things I should pay attention to but I just think he's adorable and don't notice the hearing aids. I'm sorry. I should be more mindful. I think you guys are amazing. That is all.

wv: latormo - what you say to mo when you will see him lator. :D

krebscout said...

Why would you feel bad about that? Isn't that a good thing?

Ginna said...

hi Summer-
I lurk on your blog occasionally ever since I stumbled on it awhile ago - but this post really caught my attention. My friend Christy ( blogs about learning from her son, who has cerebral palsy and has some obvious differences (canes, different gait, etc) from other kids. She explores what it means to teach others about Elias & about interactions with Moms and kids, both positive and negative. I bet you'd enjoy it.

krebscout said...


I did take a look, and wow. What a great attitude. Thank you for showing me. I'll be going back.

But how am I supposed to reciprocate the lurking if I can't see you profile?