Thursday, October 25, 2007


Nolan was born on August 27, 2007 after a grand total of 3 hours of labor. It was a textbook pregnancy, easy delivery, and he was a wonderful, perfectly healthy baby. The OB/Gyn discharged me a day early so that we could go home and be together as a family. I had no inkling there could be any problem at all, until the nurse came in and said we couldn't leave "just yet." Nolan hadn't had his hearing evaluation, apparently. It turns out she wasn't quite telling the truth here- he had his evaluation but had "referred" and they needed to repeat it prior to discharge. An hour later she returns and says that we need to stay, because Nolan had "referred" on the test and she needed to have it repeated by the audiologist. She told us not to worry, that this is often caused by fluid in the ears or vernix from the birth process.

The audiologist came down and a little while later came in to say he had referred again. She told us that the nurses are allowed to run the test twice, and after that they have to call the audiologist. So Nolan had "referred" with both ears at 35dB on three separate automated ABR (AABR) tests (a measure of brainstem response to the auditory nerve). She said it could be fluid, and not to worry. I asked if there was any fluid in his ears, and she said there was no fluid evident. Hmmm...

We went back to the hospital two weeks later for a fourth AABR to confirm the screening results in the nursery. He referred again bilaterally. Then she ran a fifth AABR at 40dB- Nolan's right ear failed and his left ear passed. She referred us on for a diagnostic ABR at a larger hospital, since diagnostic ABR tests are not performed in our small(er) town. She said not to worry, it could be fluid in the ears. Yeah, right! Then she gave me several brochures on permanent hearing loss and her email address.

We scheduled the diagnostic ABR for October 24, and had to wait for what seemed to be an incredible amount of time. In the meantime, we noted Nolan startling to loud noises and seemingly responding to our voices. We were convinced there must not really be a hearing loss, and maybe it was just quirky screening results...

No comments: