I knew fairly on in my college career that Audiology was for me. At that time, my plan was to work with the adult population. However, my first job had other plans for me and I spent the next seven years with approximately 50% of my schedule working with children with hearing loss and their families. I enjoyed the challenge it presented.
When my husband and I decided to have children, never did it cross my mind that they would have hearing loss. My husband had hearing loss, but it had never been linked to anything so I figured it fell into the “unknown” category. Our first child was born and passed his newborn hearing screening. Naturally as an Audiologist, I was thrilled. Our next pregnancy ended in miscarriage and subsequent genetic counseling. Counseling revealed my husband had a syndrome that had hearing loss as a possible side effect, along with several other potential defects. There was a 50/50 chance, with every pregnancy, that the syndrome would be passed on. When we became pregnant again, we were monitored very closely. Everything was going smoothly and we even a 3D ultrasound towards the end of the pregnancy. My physician took a wonderful photo, front on, of his sweet, round little head. Delivery day arrived and to my surprise, my little boy was born, in effect, with no ears. I was devastated. I knew in my “audiology mind” that everything would work out, but in my post-partum “mom mind” I couldn’t believe it and cried. How could this happen to me?!? Audiologist don’t have hearing impaired kids!
Thankfully and quickly, audiologist mode kicked in. I tested my older child and he presented with a mild hearing loss in both ears. Both boys were fit with hearing aids, the older child traditional Behind-the-Ear Hearing aids and the younger with a bone conduction hearing aid.
Here we are, almost six years later and both boys are doing well. The younger child has required speech-language therapy, but progressing nicely. This past year he was implanted with his Bone Anchored Hearing Aid. He loves it!
I have been asked many, many times over the past six years, if I became an audiologist because of my kids. As you can see, no, it was coincidence; even an audiologist can have hearing impaired kids. Absolutely, some things have been easier because of my background (knowing who to contact and which hearing aids and FM systems are available); but not everything. I still grieved. Perseverance, patience, love and being proactive for your child are the keys to an optimal outcome.