The Secret Deafie is a series of anonymous columns written by different writers. Today’s Deafie tells us about a life-changing decision she had to make.
We were so happy when our baby boy was born. Even though we are both deaf, it didn’t cross our mind that he could be deaf, we were just so delighted to have a healthy baby.
When he was six weeks old, he had a home test arranged by the health visitor. He had wiring across his head, but luckily he didn’t have any hair to worry about! He didn’t respond, but she told us that it was fairly common for boys to fail their first test.
But a week later, we were at the hospital for a proper hearing test. The audiologist was a nice man, patient and, surprisingly, deaf aware (they usually mumble and look the other way). He explained everything, went through every stage. Then he tried again. Our baby woke up before he could test the second ear.
The audiologist explained that one of our boy’s ears didn’t show any brainwave responses to sounds. He was so careful with his words. I had to ask him straight out if this meant our baby could be deaf. He said yes.
We were so surprised, as we weren’t expecting this. We went home speechless. We agreed not to say anything to anyone yet, not till after the second test, so that we could take it in ourselves.
I was so distracted. I started thinking about the future – what was the local authority like? Would we get a teacher for the deaf from hell, believing in only the oral method? Or a nice kind one who’d be happy to support BSL? What would his education be like? His school?
I was not worried about him being Deaf, nor about language, as I knew with his deaf parents he’d be ok, but I was worried about the attitudes around us, partly because we’d only just moved.
Our baby slept through his second test. His brainwaves showed no responses to sounds, and it was confirmed that he was profoundly deaf. We were to come back again in few weeks for new hearing aids after his first ear molds were made (they were so tiny!). They would refer a teacher for the deaf to us.
A teacher for the deaf came on the following Monday. To my relief, she was a lovely teacher and signed little bit! She wasn’t a teacher from hell! Even better, she told us that the Local Authority supported whatever the parents wants for their deaf child!!!
So I could relax a bit, and focused on building my bond with our baby again.
We were delighted when I realised I was expecting again. We knew that the new baby had 50-50 chance of being deaf, but we didn’t mind either way.
Our baby was born, a boy again! The newborn screening test was being used in hospital by then but I refused it point blank. I believe people need time to focus on their baby first.
I believed that he was hearing but my husband strongly thought he was deaf as he wasn’t responding to sounds, which made me think again. A few weeks later, he had the test. The audiologist turned round saying that he’d got through 80 decibels …. so I was right, more hearing than his brother….. then 70db….60db……..50db…….40db…..30dz…….20dz……..
He wasn’t deaf.
Again, we were stunned and speechless on the way home.
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