Friday, September 19, 2014

Say WHAT?!?!?!!

I'm sorry, could you repeat that?  I'm not sure I heard you right....

"His hearing is good.  We think he has normal hearing just like other children.  He hears everything."

This was the orphanage's response to our question about Titus' hearing.  It may not seem like a big deal, because we didn't share with many people about the doubts we had.  To catch you up... First of all, we've been aware from the beginning that in facial differences like Titus has, with a smaller ear, it is possible that there would be some hearing loss on that side.  Initially those concerns were put aside when his basic information sheet listed his hearing as "normal".  However, as we sifted through his file, we found results from a hearing test that indicated profound hearing loss in both ears.  Given the connections to other health conditions, we believed this test was likely to be accurate, except that there was an inconsistency with some information I recalled seeing on his profile with the agency who had his file when we "found" him.  I had a vague recollection if it saying "He hears and is beginning to say words such as..."   I tried to track down the source of that information, but could not.

So, believing that it is best to prepare for the worst, our family began learning ASL.  I got in touch with a friend who works for a Deaf preschool in Tulsa and sent her some of Titus' information to see if she could help us make sense of it and how to prepare to bring home a deaf toddler.  Our kids started watching "Signing Time" daily and are having fun using their signs throughout the day.

While it would have made no difference to us in regards to his adoption, if Titus were completely deaf it would change how we spend this waiting period in preparation and education.  We knew we needed clarification, so we asked some questions to the orphanage trying to determine whether the test results or the vague update were more accurate.  We had completely prepared our hearts to receive confirmation of deafness.  Instead, whoever answered the questions seemed to be confused as to why we even asked!  They also sent two new videos that seem to confirm him following verbal instructions and at one point responding to a noise heard behind him.

I have learned that many factors, such as severe illness, ear infection, and improper conditions regarding sedation, background noise, etc can influence the test results to reflect a much higher degree of hearing loss than is actually present.

So, imagine with me that you've spent the past several months suspecting that your son is completely deaf.  By completely deaf, I mean no speech communication possible, unable to hear the jet take off behind him, deaf.  Now, let me say it again so it sinks in:

"His hearing is good.  We think he has normal hearing just like other children.  He hears everything."

It is hard to know what to do with 2nd or even 3rd hand information from 7,000 miles away, but for now we are trusting that we do not need to prepare for Titus to be completely deaf.  I am just so glad for Titus that it will not be one MORE difference for him to navigate.  We will not know for sure whether he has some milder degree of hearing loss until he comes home and we are able to have all areas of his health properly assessed.  For now we are processing this unexpected news and continuing to look forward to having him home in our arms!

Coming soon... the rest of our update!

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