Deaf?

Eloïse had her annual weigh and measure appointment at school on Wednesday. They also did vision and hearing tests. The hearing test was the type where you wear headphones and raise your hand when you hear a beep.

Over the last few weeks I have found myself saying “are you deaf?” to her enough times that it had occurred to me that it was a good thing that she was having a hearing test. So when Ian came home and immediately asked me if she’s ever had her ears checked my heart sunk. She never had the newborn test because she was born at home in America and the complete lack of infrastructure surrounding home birth means that there’s nothing in place to facilitate hearing tests for babies who aren’t born in the hospital. When we moved here we asked for a hearing test when we first went to the consultatiebureau, but they only have the machinery sitting around for 2-week old ears. She was 3 months and in order to arrange a hearing test we were going to have to jump through some hoops. We eventually decided not to jump through those hoops because we could see clearly that she could hear.

Apparently at the test at school Eloïse only raised her hand for one beep. The woman turned it up to 60 dB and she still didn’t hear the beep. Shit.

I told Ian that my suspicion was that she was confused by the directions somehow. He assured me that he had questioned her at length and she had definitely heard only one beep. At school pick-up time Ian questioned Eloïse’s teacher. She had also never noticed her having a hearing problem. But she told us that one boy in her class is extremely hard of hearing and no one would ever know it because he compensates so well with lip-reading. But it’s pretty hard to get Eloïse to look at your when you’re talking and she always responds verbally so I didn’t see how that could be the case with her.

When she got home I questioned her about the test. She told me that she only heard one beep on the first test and no beeps at all on the second test. I said “didn’t you hear anything at all?” and she said “I heard oo-oo, but not ee-ee.” Ah ha. “How many times did you hear oo-oo?” “Lots, but that wasn’t what I was supposed to listen for!”

She went back for a repeat test the next day and passed the test. Case closed. It’s funny because at the parent evening the teacher was going on and on about how the current group of kids is really attentive to detail (read: anal) such that she can’t get away with anything. If she promises that a certain book will be read four days later and a different book is read, they will point it out. If she tells a story differently, they correct her. If she moves something from its usual spot, even something that they don’t play with, they ask where it has gone. When I heard about this class make-up I certainly recognized Eloïse’s personality in it. I guess it’s no surprise that she took the directions to listen for the “beep” very literally.

In unrelated news, this is a picture of Eloïse’s latest school craft project. It’s a spiderweb that she made all by herself. She is very proud.

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8 Responses to Deaf?

  1. wow wonder where she got that gene for attention to detail?? I just said to Brian that we should get Charlotte’s hearing tested.

  2. reminds me of the various testing they did at Gordon school. Through the years they would always tell my parents they thought I had hearing problems and other problems, but I never did… I just thought their tests were stupid, and was bored in class. I proved MANY a time at home that my hearing was perfect. They also thought I had some strange problem when they brought to my parents’ attention that I couldn’t figure out which name should be drawn to a drawing of some piece of meat… they were told rather matter of factly that of course I wouldn’t know what that was because we are vegetarians…

  3. by the way… lovely spider web!

  4. Megan, do you really think she has a problem? I’ve had my moments with Eloïse because she can be standing right next to me while I speak at full volume and she’ll say “what?” to the same sentence three times in a row. But those are the exceptions. Most of the time she can hear really well, including whispers, assuming that she shuts up long enough to listen. Sometimes I wonder if it’s just a language thing. Maybe when she’s saying “what” it’s because she’s not correctly parsing the syllables because she thinks she hears a word from the other language. That sometimes happens to me with her, but of course I rarely mix languages so she can be pretty confident in expecting to hear English from me.

    Tara, I can’t believe that I didn’t know that you were a vegetarian as a child. How is that possible? Have I really forgotten or might I not have known? As a kid who didn’t like meat and became a vegetarian at age 15 you’d think I would have been slightly attentive to a detail like that. Not liking meat I never had it on sandwiches at school or anything either, but I can’t believe I didn’t realize that! Are you still?

  5. Megan: It’s their age… I’m willing to bet on it. Liam says “what” over and over again. I even went to my mom and exasperatingly asked if he’s deaf. She Laughed at me! She insisted kids do this… all of them. I figure after 3 of her own, she’s got a point. I’m not worried about Liam’s hearing at all, despite his “what”‘s.

    Sarah: I was born and bred a veggie, as were my sisters. My father was born and bred a veggie and my mom never liked meat. My sisters and I each tried it over the years (outside the house, as my parents didn’t have meat in the house), and we each became strict veggies on our own, in time. It’s more the ethical/moral thing with my family… “animals are my friends, and I don’t eat my friends”… Things will be difficault as my kids get older, though, since Steve is not a veggie. I’ve asked him to wait to offer meat outside the house until they can understand what it is. Ultimately, the choice will be up to them, but they won’t get it under my roof. I could NEVER be a complete vegan, however – I NEED my dairy… I live for BUTTER! 😉

  6. Have you had her ear check to see if it is full of wax. Max had a hearing problem from one side of her ear. I could talk to her and she heard nothing. This went on for a while. We made an appointment at the poliklinik at the VU to have the ear wax vacumn out. The doctor said, there was to much wax deep inside and it needs to be taken out. This happened to other parents who had the similar problem.

  7. Well, I have no idea if she really has a problem (she was tested near birth at it was fine) but she has been in speech therapy for a while for expressive language issues and I think she might not hear the sounds correctly. She certainly has the 3 year old selective hearing issue.

  8. that was an ominous title for the blog! whew! I say similar things to Alana all the time. They just have selective hearing. I will repeat myself and repeat myself. and five minutes later Alana will say to me “I didn’t hear you” which means “I wasn’t choosing to listen to you”. But the doctor did say that Asher’s hearing is probably impaired at the moment due to all that wax in his ear. I will have to see if the earex stuff is working.

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