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Hi, my 8 year old son has no hearing in one ear and a mild loss in the other

askanaudiologist Community member Posts: 2 Listener
edited August 2016 in Sensory impairments


  • askanaudiologist
    askanaudiologist Community member Posts: 2 Listener
    Hi, my 8 year old son has no hearing in one ear and a mild loss in the other. He wears a bi-cross aid, has a soundfield system in his class and uses a radio aid in assembly, PE etc. He has a TA 25 hours a week at school as he has special educational needs and she is fantastic. He sees the Teacher for the Hearing Impaired but that focuses on equipment. So, he is well supported BUT - as a hearing mother, I feel ill equiped as a parent.
    He was born at 29 weeks, was 1lb 14ozs and was in ITU on ventilators about 4 times by the time he was 18months. He was on domestic oxygen until he was 2 1/2 He passed his newborn hearing test but subsequently had gentomicyn (sp?) and glue ear and had no hearing and made no sounds until he had a grommet at 18months and started to say ma a week later.
    He is REALLY bright with a phenomenal general knowledge. He could read all our children's books before he started school and has a better visual memory than any adult I know. But, he probably has dyscalculia.
    Because he was in comas a lot and in hospital he has delayed physical development and has pro-preception issues. We are making good progress with physio and OT and he is getting better gross and fine motor strength.
    His SEN needs are therefore hard to pinpoint and I am wondering how much of an impact his hearing has on him and if we are missing opportunities to support him better.
    He is very disorganised and gets distracted easily. At school and home he slopes off and reads a book when he should be doing something else. He HATES school. He doesn't like people shouting and will get very cross with me if I raise my voice at home. He says his teacher shouts a lot and he doesn't like this. He was in a big panic on the first morning back to school as he didn't know what he was supposed to do and was scared she'd shout at him.
    He wants friends but doesn't have any. I think he can't cope with children's conversations and dominates, talking about films and doesn't listen. He interacts with people with a lot of hugging which will have to stop as he gets older. Adults generally adore him as he is a comic and stops people in the street to chat to them.
    How do I make sure the TA and I are doing everything we can to support his hearing impairment? I learn a lot about supporting my other kids by watching other parents. Where are all the top tips for Connor? Like - wing mirrors on his bike, written timetables, written kit lists etc. How can the teacher support him in being less confused about what is going on in the class and what he's supposed to do? He has his TA to help but the class is about 36 children and some of them have behaviour issues that are taking up a lot of the teacher's time.
    His precocious reading skills gave him status in the first years at school but his current teacher stopped him progressing up stages as she said he wasn't speaking clearly enough. We've pushed through this but I felt it was probably inappropriate.
    Is this the longest question you've ever had?!
  • VickiKirwin
    VickiKirwin Community member Posts: 69 Courageous
    Hi Alison
    It sounds as if your son has a good level of support in school for his hearing difficulties which is great news but it is important to they look beyond the equipment at the overall experience your son has at school. School is where we go to learn through formal teaching but it's also crucial in a child's social development so it might be that his teachers and TA need to do some work supporting him in developing skills outside the classroom. NDCS have recently published a new resource for schools called 'Supporting the achievement of deaf children in primary schools' available here You will need to register as a member to download it but it just takes a few minutes online and is free of charge. The booklet gives loads of practical advice for inside the classroom but also for making sure children are fully included in all areas of school life.
    Lots of the difficulties you mention can be caused by other problems, but equally they can be attributed to hearing loss, and any hearing problem will impact on other areas of difficulty so it is important that we do everything we can do to make listening as easy as possible. Listening with a hearing loss and hearing aids takes effort and is hard work. This means that children have less cognitive resources to use for learning and other tasks. It's common then to hear that children are more tired at the end of the day, more easily distracted and choose to be alone frequently - they need to switch off for a while. It's much harder to follow conversation in groups - especially when they are outside and in background noise so children may have problems interacting with peers their own age either because their friends don't understand the difficulties or because they've had a bad experience eg if you don't hear the rules and are then told you're stupid because you do something wrong in a game then you are reluctant to get involved again. If you don't hear others in groups well it is easier to talk more so that you don't have to be responding to conversation as much. Children understand alot of their world by overhearing things. For example this is how a toddler finds something more interesting to play with in nursery - they overhear other children, then leave what they're doing and move to go and play with another group of children and join in. A deaf child misses a lot of this overheard information (even with hearing aids their microphone pick-up range means they miss much of what happens outside a 3-6m bubble). This can mean that older deaf children haven't developed some of these early social development skills, but can also result in them feeling very flustered because 'things just happen to them' as they missed overhearing someone mentioning something beforehand. Deaf children often benefit from routine and a clear structure or plan such as a photo diary of the day. He may also be very bored at school if he isn't being stretched academically and isn't enjoying it socially either. If you'd like some impartial local support NDCS can put you in contact with one of their Family Officers who can help you ensure that the school is doing everything they should be to support his progress.
    I am a little concerned that he is being upset by shouting. His Bi-CROS hearing aid, soundfield and radio aid should be all be set up to provide sound at comfortable levels and if he is experiencing discomfort it could be because they need to be adjusted (they are programmed to amplify quieter sounds but the maximum output can be adjusted to keep louder sounds comfortable without amplifying those), or it could be because the equipment is being used poorly - the teacher shouldn't need to shout when using a microphone and if they are this may be being amplified. Speak to his audiologist and Teacher for the Hearing Impaired to make sure the equipment is still appropriately set for him and working well together.
    Finally, your son may benefit from meeting other children who use hearing aids - NDCS runs events for families together, as well as children only events from the age of 8 years - help him develop confidence, communication skills and make friends
    Long old reply too! Hope it's useful but do ask if there's anything else I can help with.
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