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On our long list of reasons to homeschool is Jeremy’s hearing impairment. It was discovered at birth (via the newborn hearing screening) and it’s remained ever since with a “mild loss” in his left ear and a “moderate loss” in his right. He was fitted for hearing aids at 10 months old and promptly started early intervention for speech so communication wouldn’t be an obstacle. It all worked beautifully because this child has not stopped asking questions since he was 18 months old.
Preschool went smoothly, as he barely noticed a difference between he and his classmates. His first round of Kindergarten was also fine. Rarely did we talk about his hearing aids as anything different. After a visit to his audiologist (while still living in North Georgia), we agreed to scale down to only the hearing aid in his right ear because it seemed there was too much amplification in his left ear, which only had a mild loss anyway. We carried on to Texas where Jeremy was demoted back to preschool mid-year and began Kindergarten again in the fall of 2009.
By then Jeremy was six years old and well aware that other children didn’t have hearing aids. On top of that, going to Kindergarten for the second time hurt his pride and he dearly missed his friends in Chattanooga. (2009 was tough!) Thus began the DAILY hassle of arguing over the cursed hearing aid – I can hear fine, Don’t make me wear it, I hate it, PLEASE MOMMY PLEASE. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
Fast forward through first grade and the arguing never waned. Every morning, it was an issue. I knew kids teased him and I knew he hated it, but was that worth sending him to school only to hear half (if not less) of what was said? Then came the Auditory Processing Disorder diagnosis. We needed help – STAT.
I say all of this because we had an issue this morning. For days Jeremy has needed nearly everything repeated to him – “What? Huh? What-did-you-say?” We’ve been lazy with the hearing aid since school let out because of … well, summer laziness is my best excuse. Water activities notwithstanding. Finally this morning I’d had enough of repeating myself and told Jeremy that he still needed to wear his hearing aid even on summer vacation.
He burst into tears. Big elephant tears.
“I can hear fine,” he says, which is his usual argument.
“No you can’t and that’s okay,” I say. “We cannot continue repeating ourselves and you not hearing what we say.”
He cried the entire time I put on the hearing aid and cried all the way downstairs to join Jackson for TV time. It’s heart-breaking to see him so distraught, but knowing that we can curtail the ridicule for now gives me hope.