Drew had his six month mapping appointment this week. He was such a good boy for the booth testing and his mapping. All I need is a box of Cheerios and Drew is one happy little boy!
Drew's audiologists had not seen him since November, so they were both thrilled to see how vocal Drew has become. He has all sorts of little words he babbles, in a repetitive, sing-song manner, all the time. I always enjoy seeing people that haven't seen Drew in a while because they help remind me of just how far Drew has come. When you are involved in day to day life it is hard to see just how much progress is made over several months time.
Drew's primary audiologist suggested that we begin his mapping session with a booth hearing test. She wanted to see exactly what Drew was able to hear at the very low and very high frequencies. We know that Drew has been hearing in the 15-20 db range across the mid-range frequencies, however, she felt as though she didn't know how well he was hearing at the very low and very high frequencies. Usually we do the booth testing at the end of the mapping session, when Drew is worn out and not giving us reliable results. It is very important that Drew hear in the 15-20 db range at the highest frequencies so that he is able to hear the /sh/ and /s/ sounds, as those are high frequency speech sounds.
I was very happy today that two audiologists did his booth hearing test. One audiologist administered the sounds and the other looked for responses. This is the best (and should be the only) way to have a booth test for such a young child. The audiologist began with the low frequency sounds at 30 db. Drew alerted and localized immediately. (And he actually enjoyed the dancing Goofy, a different response than before). She then moved down to 20 db, and again he alerted and localized. We were all pleased.
I was sitting in the booth, holding Drew on my lap, thinking about how happy I was that he was not only hearing but localizing the sounds. All sorts of emotions were running through my mind as I sat in that booth. I was trying very hard to be as quite as possible, trying not to talk about all of the exciting thoughts running through my head. Suddenly, the audiologist in the booth with us said, "Good Drew, you hear that." Drew turned and looked at the dancing Goofy. The other audiologist spoke into the booth, "That was at 10 db."
I sat in that booth stunned. Not only was he hearing at 10 db, but my deaf son had just heard a sound that I had not heard! I looked at the audiologist in disbelief. I said, "I didn't hear that." They played the sound again. Again, Drew responded and I never hear it! I really could not believe it. I've had a bit of a cold, so we all figured that I must have a little fluid in my ears that is preventing me from hearing this low frequency at 10 db. But can you believe that Drew heard it? Amazing. I've said it before, but cochlear implants are truly that, amazing!
The audiologists then tested the higher frequency sounds. As they suspected, Drew was not hearing the high frequency sounds nearly as well, only showing a noticeable response at 30 db. Drew's mapping audiologist took those results and turned up the high frequency electrodes enough for him to be in the 15-20 db range. I am confidant that we have a very appropriate map at this point, and Drew's audiologist is as well. This appointment was by far the best mapping session Drew has had.
With the change in his map, we will be working a lot more on making sure that Drew is responding to the /s/ and /sh/ sounds. He does so in therapy, but those are isolated, quite settings. We will be working with these sounds in typical environments. I am confidant that with his new program Drew will be able to start producing these two sounds.