We went up to Buffalo Hearing and Speech Center yesterday to get our final "yes, he hears!" test. We were able to get a nice line of hearing results at 15dB across the board, and test each ear independently. We did have a moment of anxiety when Matt sat staring blankly while tones were playing at 35dB in his left ear. It took him about a minute or so, and then he turned and said to Michelle the audiologist, "I keep hearing that!" After that, we just ran tones at 15dB and he responded to all of them. It is nice to rule hearing out as a cause of his speech (consonant deletion and cluster reduction) issues!
Nolan was up next, for earmold impressions. I told the audiologist about our PE tube concerns, so she took a look. She couldn't visualize the left one, and the right one was located in a build-up of wax. She did a quick tympanogram, and the left ear showed a flat line with a large volume (this means a functional tube is still in place). She took another look, and finally located the tube in the top corner of his eardrum. This is a relief, because he has one tube still in place and functioning. The right tube is definitely out, but the eardrum is healed and he has no signs of fluid.
We also found the cause of his ear pain in the right ear. Nolan has been crying when I put his right hearing aid in, and I was worried it was infected. It isn't infected, but there is a lot of wax in his ear canal. The wax is getting pushed into his eardrum when we put the earmold in his ear, hence the pain. I'm going to call the pediatrician to see if they can remove the wax, in the hopes of avoiding a trip to the ENT in Buffalo.
We also discussed Nolan's hearing issues in background noise. We had the background noise suppression program turned on and we'll see if it helps over the next two weeks. If it doesn't help, then we'll simply turn it off when we go to pick up his earmolds.
The audiologist also discussed the potential for getting an FM system through the early intervention program. I am hopeful we will be able to get one, because Nolan starts a 2 year old preschool program next year and it would help him during story time and other activities. That classroom is particularly noisy (Matt is in the program now), has tile floors, and is filled with 12 excited two year olds. The FM system may help during library story hour as well, since Nolan currently wanders aimlessly during story time.
Luckily we spend most of our time in an acoustically friendly environment, and Nolan's speech is taking off. We have 2 word phrases, and the occasional 3-word phrase slips out. We're also nearing the "too many words to count" point in his speech development. He tries to say so many new words each day that I simply can't keep up with him!