Blogging about life in Minnesota, raising our six kids with Down syndrome while battling Breast Cancer.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor in the morning the devil says, "Oh shit! She's up!"

Friday, June 14, 2013

Hearing Aids

Last year while I was in Serbia for Asher's adoption, Angela lost one of her hearing aids. *Someone*, who shall remain nameless but who was the responsible adult at home with the kids, didn't even notice that one was missing until I got home and pointed it out. AHEM! Anyway, we waited over a year for her to get a new pair.  She hasn't been completely without hearing aids, since she had hearing aids plus and FM system at school. She could have worn one hearing aid but if you've ever had a problem with hearing out of one ear you know that it's very difficult to localize sound when you only hear out of one side.

Anyway, we finally got her new aids!

Years ago, when Angela was 12 months old, she got her first set of hearing aids. I was still new to this world of differences and didn't want anything that would make Angela stand out more than she already did, so I chose skin-colored aids with skin colored ear molds. A few years later we switched to dark purple ear molds because they're easier to find when they come off the hearing aids! (and note to those who are new to hearing aid usage, DOGS love hearing aid ear molds too, and eventually insurance stops paying for them when your dog eats them. ;-) 

When Angela got a bit older I started letting her pick the color of her ear molds. She's had lots of different colors over the years; always bright and and bold! This year, since she is 17, I grit my teeth and swallowed my tendency to take control and let her pick her own hearing aids. I really wanted to encourage her to choose something less..umm...flashy, but I held my tongue. After all SHE has to wear them, not me. And really, I've been letting her choose her glasses for a couple of years now. 

Purple hearing aids on the left and purple with SPARKLES
 ear molds (the part that goes in the ear) on the right. 
To give you an idea of size, the ear molds are about the size of a nickel.

Checking the fit of the ear molds and cutting the tubing to the right length.

Angela has teeny tiny ears (the size of a 6 month old baby!) 
Her new aids are so tiny they hide right behind her ears. 

The wires lead to the computer program.

Years ago hearing aids were only able to amplify ALL sounds, so even sounds a person could hear well without aids were made louder, making hearing aids sometimes not very pleasant. About 8 years ago digital hearing aids came on the market. The computer chips in them are much smaller, allowing for smaller hearing aids. Here you see black wires connecting Angela's aids to the computer. The computer programs the hearing aids to amplify ONLY the sounds 
Angela can't hear. If her hearing changes (which it has in the last year) we can reprogram the aids accordingly. 10 years ago we would have had to buy entirely new hearing aids. 

The Audiologist ran some test sounds into the aids to see if Angela 
could hear them and make sure they were programmed correctly. 

Into the booth we go! Time to see how much better 
Angela hears with her aids than she does without.

Our Audiologist, Wendy, has been part of our family for 10 years now. 
We love her! Thanks Wendy!

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