I had suspected for a while that Katie had significant hearing problems when she was holding the computer speaker to her ear, turning the volume up full on the television, and CD player. She was also trying to lip read when she was spoken to.
When I attended an audiology appointment in September I spoke to a doctor about Katie’s behaviour and after his assessment he told me he would see Katie in twelve months time. I knew this was far too long and asked for an earlier appointment but the doctor said Katie did not need to be seen before then.
I then contacted Katie’s speech therapist who went into school to assess her. Upon this assessment the speech therapist sent a referral to audiology as she felt Katie was struggling to hear her requests when out of sight.
A few weeks went by and I contacted audiology and spoke to the doctor. Although the referral had been put in by the speech therapist the doctor in audiology still insisted Katie did not need an earlier appointment. When I opposed this he told me he would bring the appointment forward to a six-month appointment instead of a twelve-month appointment.
I was still unhappy, as I felt six months was too long for any child if they cannot hear properly. I then visited my GP who put another referral into audiology and three weeks later I had an appointment.
This time Katie’s speech therapist attended the appointment at audiology with us. Another assessment was conducted and afterwards the doctor still felt Katie did not need help with her hearing. We insisted she needed hearing aids as she had all the signs of a child struggling to hear.
After a long discussion with the doctor and the speech therapist, the doctor reluctantly agreed to have Katie fitted with hearing aids. Throughout the whole process we were told: ‘Some children can cope with this level of hearing loss better than others so hearing aids are not always given’. ‘Are you happy now?’ I assume referring to us opposing the doctors opinion and ‘you knew you were going to get something done because you brought your speech therapist with you.’
On a positive note since Katie was fitted with hearing aids in December her speech and behaviour has improved at least by 60%. She now talks much clearer and in small phrases between 3-5 words instead of single words. She talks all day whereas before she was very quiet – only using odd single words. Her latest saying is ‘I don’t like it’ She can now express her feelings verbally and it is delightful to share her thoughts.
I urge all of you to question what you are told by doctors in audiology. Katie has struggled with her hearing unnecessarily for not months but years. The behaviour prior to her hearing aids, repetitively saying her name five or six times before she would respond, tantrums upon requests and not being able to follow instructions all disappeared once she was fitted with hearing aids.