Why is "S" so important?
- It denotes plurality: duck vs. ducks
- It shows ownership: Bobby's toy
- It stands in for a full word in contractions: She's going to the store.
To check how well Nolan is hearing across the speech frequency spectrum, we do daily "Ling Checks." If he can detect and discriminate these sounds, then we know he is hearing across the full speech spectrum for the English language. Here is an example of Nolan responding to the Ling sounds with his hearing aids on, from a distance of three feet.
He can't hear the "S" sound, even with his aids on. This is the problem of under-amplification. We are in the process of getting a "third site" hearing evaluation performed for Nolan, but I doubt they'll get an aided audiogram done at Buffalo Children's (I'm certainly asking for one).
One way to address the situation is the use of the FM System, which adds about 15dB to the sounds Nolan is receiving. It helps solve our "disappearing S" problem. Here is the same Ling test, using the FM System:
Using the FM System, Nolan can hear the "S" sound. This is not a perfect solution to his problem of under-amplification, but it will help him learn to detect and discriminate the sound within words. Once I can get the FM System set to the recommended 50/50 mix, he will be able to wear the FM system on a more regular basis and will (hopefully) begin spontaneously adding the "s" sound into his speech.