Thursday, September 2, 2010

Heard ya, loud and clear!

Jacob's ears are perfect. He will not need tubes or a hearing aid.

After Jacob's left ear failed an initial hearing screening at the pediatrician's office a couple weeks ago, we decided to have an audiologist double-check it.

Jacob understands almost everything we say to him. He understands "Give Dolly a kiss," "Give mommy a hug," "Go to your room" and "Put on your shoes," among others. He even knows how to sign a few words after he hears them (more on that later).

At 15 months, however, Jacob should have a vocabulary of roughly five words. At the time of his checkup, he had only three: dada, mama and hi. He had a few other words that Erin and I could understand, but the average person would think he's speaking jibberish. For example, "all gone" sounds like "aww-aww."

He also struggles pronouncing certain consonant sounds. For example, "ball," when it comes out of his mouth, sounds like "ba." He can say mama and dada, but not mommy or daddy.

So at his initial screening, his right ear passed, but his left ear failed. In order to pass, each ear must recognize at least two out of three elongated, high-pitched beeps. At the time, our pediatrician, Dr. Bottoms (the one we originally wanted to see at his 15-month appointment; she was much better, by the way) told me if Jacob has fluid in his ear, he'll say those words like he hears them -- under water.

When she checked his ear with her little scope (that's a technical term; I know I'm a writer) she said she didn't see any fluid and his ear looked "perfect." She told me boys typically don't develop language until close to 2, and day care will help speed up his vocabulary.

Still, we decided to play it safe -- Jacob has already had a couple nasty ear infections -- and visit with the audiologist. After a more advanced test, she said Jacob's ears were fine. We're going to check them again in six months.

But for now, when Jacob doesn't answer us, we'll know it's on purpose.

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