I realized today we passed up a very important anniversary for Charlie. We passed up the anniversary of Charlie officially having full hearing!
Before we ever knew Charlie had DS we learned that Charlie had a moderate sensorineural bi-lateral hearing loss. Fancy way of saying he was hard of hearing in both ears. When Charlie was 5 months old he got hearing aids which he wore full time until he was 15 months old. I had suspected he was hearing better around Christmas of 2006 (before C's first b-day). I should have pushed the Audiologist to order a sedated ABR test, but instead went along with her suggestion that his crying at loud noises was simply "a kid thing." At a routine hearing test when he was 15 months, Charlie began to respond to sounds in the normal hearing range! Weird! After that appointment I put the hearing aids in the drawer, and never took them out again. A month later in May of 2007, we had another hearing test at a different Audiologist who has more experience working with children who have developmental delays. Charlie passed again! At that point Charlie officially had "normal hearing." Cool!
It is extremely unusual for people with sensorineural hearing loss to experience improvement. In Charlie's case one of three things happened:
1) He was misdiagnosed by the first Audiologist (who is a wonderful person, but did not have as much experience testing children who have cognitive delays, and whose equipment was often "temperamental").
2) Charlie's brain needed more experience with sound to have his hearing fully "kick-in."
3) He was hearing impaired, and as the result of many, many prayers from many people, he was healed.
Of course we will never know for sure just why Charlie was hearing impaired for the months that he was, or why he has full hearing now. What ever it is, it is an amazing GIFT from GOD. We are so thankful for Charlie that he does not have to deal with a hearing loss on top of the other things that can cause language delay in people with Down Syndrome. And you know what? Some good came of his hearing loss diagnosis. As a result of his diagnosis, we learned many, many tricks to help him learn to listen well, and learn to talk and communicate effectively. And Charlie is doing great in all these areas!