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Living with Unilateral Hearing Loss

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Kalina has now had her hearing aid for four months. What a difference it has made! Unfortunately, I have found, it hasn’t “cured” her hearing loss. And a hearing aid isn’t quite like glasses.

Kalina was diagnosed with unilateral hearing loss at age twelve, pretty late in the game. We noticed improvement right away. It is amazing to have your child hearing from both ears for the first time.

You have to understand though, we were given no information from the ENT who diagnosed her nor the hearing clinic where we purchased her hearing aid. None. I really, really, regret not take her to Seattle Children’s Hospital to have her evaluated and fitted for a hearing aid. Even now, all the information I have has come from the internet or other moms who I have met.

{A couple of months ago I went to a meeting for local parents of kids with special needs. I was hoping to meet up with other moms of kids with feeding tubes. Instead I met a woman with two children with hearing loss. She was working on getting together a group of local teen girls with hearing loss so they could meet. Kalina loved it and has made several new friends. Last night she even met two of them at the movies to watch Despicable Me 2!}

I have since asked for a referral for Kalina to see the audiologists down at
Children’s. I am confident they will give me some actual information, not just sell me a hearing aid.

Anyway, what I’ve learned is, the hearing aid helps immensely, but it’s not perfect. She still misses things. We still have to be patient and repeat ourselves. It takes a bit longer for her to “get” a joke.  So many of the issues we’ve had with Kalina are directly related the hearing loss. She struggles with academics more than any of our other birth children. She isn’t far behind, but it is a struggle for her. Not only does she still not hear everything, but she has had twelve years of hearing no vocal sounds out of her right ear. She has missed so much.

She is doing very well. Her hearing aid makes life so much easier. For her and those around her. It’s not perfect, but I am so thankful for modern  technology.



  1. Dawn

    I am an audiologist in Rochester, NY (University of Rochester Medical Center). I would recommend that you definitely follow through with the audiologist (and ENT if possible) at Children’s. Did the ENT do any imaging studies (Fine-cut CT scan, MRI)?
    You might consider an FM system during school. I can’t remember if Kalina is one of your children that goes to public school or is home-schooled. The FM system (if you’re not familiar) reduces the signal-to-noise ratio and makes it easier for her to listen in a classroom where acoustics are generally poor. It’s like having the teacher’s voice 6 inches from Kalina’s ear no matter where the teacher is in the room.It is a great educational tool.
    Good luck to you. Please private message me if you have any questions. I’d love to help.

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      Yes, they did a CT to rule out something…they never told me what which is soooo frustrating. Kalina homeschools, but thanks for the suggestion of an FM system. If I come up with any more questions I will email you. Thanks!

  2. thebarefoothomeschooler

    Would Kalina be willing to do a guest post on unilateral hearing loss. My son, adopted from ET at the age of 4 and brought home at 5 1/2, announced that “he no hear out of that ear, he no never hear out of that ear” on his 7th birthday.

    We have done and MRI and are awaiting results. He is profound (can’t hear 120dB) in his right ear but hearing in his left. We are looking into the CROS or BAHA for him and teaching him ASL, though his language is good.

    I want to know how/if she felt different before knowing about her loss. How she did in school and what she struggled with. What she still struggles with. How does she feel about her hearing loss? What is it like? How has the hearing aid been better? Worse? Just everything….this is very new to our family.


  3. Suze

    I have waited until my fifties to be able to obtain a hearing aid. I have nerve deafness in my left ear and it is pretty much complete. My family do not and will not accept that I don’t hear well. I am so pleased you are working hard for your daughter. Thank you.

  4. Shelley

    I found your comments interesting as they unfortunately sound very familiar. My daughter was diagnosed with mild bilateral hearing loss when she was six. At first I was relieved, she was struggling so much with phonics, I thought we had found our answer. I mean how can you understand phonics if you can’t hear some of the sounds? But here we are four years later still struggling more then I think we should be. No one can tell us why she has a loss. Nothing else has been done besides selling us a pair of very expensive hearing aids. When I ask questions, I get basically no answers. I even had one audiologist basically tell me I was a horrible parent for making my daughter wear hearing aids because I was going to socially scar her! As if not being able to read fluently, spell, or follow conversations would cause any social awkwardness! Anyway, I am curious to hear how your experience at a Children’s hospital goes. Maybe that’s what I need to do too.

  5. Julie

    Oh Renee! I still need to get that back-up HA to you! Children’s will connect you with all kinds of resources, and don’t forget about WWU, right in our backyard. Their Audiology/Communications folks are AWESOME.

    Julie G

  6. Mariesa

    Are there any classes for the Deaf/hard of hearing in your area. Learning how to lip read and *actual* ASL (not those baby dvd things) may make an immense difference in her life. Both socially and educationally.

  7. Martita

    Have you thought of finding some good speech (sort of) therapy?

    My son is deaf and hears with cochlear implants. He was late identified (4 years old when he was adopted) and implanted older (at five). He has had to learn to listen and learn to hear with both his ears, and it is super hard work for him. We have been helped immensely by our auditory verbal therapist. She is trained to help people get the most out of their hearing, whether aided with CIs, HAs, or no amplification. AVT is unique speech therapy because the therapist is really training the parents to help the child while involving the child in their own progress. As my son has matured, our AVT has also helped him understand his own needs. Even if you can’t have therapy every week, periodic therapy and access to a therapist who will understand Kalina’s challenges is invaluable. You may have to travel to find one, but if you find a good one, every session will make life better. I call my son’s AVT “my therapist” because she helps me manage the intricacies of raising a child with hearing loss while helping him maximize his hearing.

  8. Buffi

    There is a multitude of lessons to be learned regarding a child with hearing loss. I currently care for a child who is oral deaf and was implanted bilaterly between the ages of 1 and 2. In addition, I have conductive hearing loss in one ear.

    What should have been expressed to you is that Kalina can’t fill in all the blanks. You don’t mention in this post how long she’s had hearing loss. Steps to help Kalina, which will sound babyish understandbly at her age, would be reading aloud to her books that are at her level or above her level to teach her concepts. You read aloud so that she can hear the concepts aloud and then discuss them with you. Think very intimate reading comprehension lesson. FM systems can be wonderful. It would help her piece together missing links. You’re not aware but when there is background noise (washing machine, air conditioner, even road noise), this all interefers with a normal persons hearing. It’s far worse for someone with hearing loss. There are decibel apps for smart phones that can tell you how loud background noise for a paticular area might be in your home. There are resources online. (great webinars through their Hope series)

      • Buffi

        To be fair, most audiologist only deal with the hearing portion of hearing loss. Thankfully I work with a family that’s very passionate about hearing and have encouraged me to attend several conferences and classes to learn how to be more intune with their childs needs. Re-read all of your daughters handwritten work to see what she may or may not be “hearing.” What many chalk up to simple mistakes can be the result of actually not being able to hear a certain consonant blend. The other day I was reviewing homework from my charge and realized that the teacher orally said the word Cascade yet my charge heard “Casage”. Luckily at age 9 it’s not big deal to point out the difference and I think sharing my stories of what I heard (or didn’t hear) as a child helps her cope in some small way.

  9. Mary Loss

    I have never posted to a site. Becoming unilaterally deaf at Christmas, I feel such empathy for each writer above –and that has made me want to write to you here now.

    I found that community hospitals and doctors do not go far enough for our challenges. Seek out the BEST hospitals anywhere!! Start with at least a teaching hospital that trains doctors.

    I am benefiting in many ways from my new BTE hearing aid which has been programmed to my “Cookie Bite” severe/profound hearing loss. I still struggle hearing in sound, locating sound, getting the consonants right… However, with my BTE hearing aid things are generally much, much better. I had a loaner for five months before being able to purchase my own one week ago.

    I am disappointed with insurance not covering hearing aids. That, to me, seems wrong and unfair.

    All the best to each of you.

    Has any one here experienced vestibular problems/ balance problems? I have had a difficult time in this area. Vestibular therapy has helped A LOT. It is not readily available, but I would suggest seeking out this type of therapy, if needed.

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