“Because I cannot hear. Duh!”, kept ringing in my ears all thorough the night. I hoped against all hope that it was all a nightmare, a trick of my imagination.
Two days ago, our six-year old daughter told us that she couldn’t hear. I could not comprehend the possibility of a chatter box being deaf. My train of thought was interrupted by the very child I was thinking of: Joey and her many stuffed animals galumphed happily into my bedroom and scrambled on my bed:
“Good morning, Mommy!’, she said and proceeded to arrange all her many animals on the comforter. Then, she climbed under the covers and cuddled next to me. The window was opened. A sweet, gentle breeze played with the lace curtains and the air was filled with the morning songs of many birds.
“Listen to the gentle breeze!”, I said and turned my head toward her.
“What breeze?”, she said.
“Do you hear the birds singing outside my window?’, I asked.
“Nope…”, she answered and ran out the door, chasing the cat.
“Daddy’s home!”, I heard her sing downstairs- he worked the night shift.
The beds were made, people and cats were fed and lunch was packed and loaded in the car without my knowledge, since my mind kept on going over the same sentence:
“Because I cannot hear. Duh!”
Finally, we were on our way to the doctor. Joey was seated on her booster seat next to Daddy. They were sharing one of her favorites: The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton. She was reading. And reading well.
After three hours of tests, we had the chance to have lunch, while waiting for the doctor to call us back with the final results. Then, we were ushered in an Examination Room and waited some more. When the doctor came in, he asked both of us to sit down.
“Your daughter needs hearing aids” he said.
“But…she can talk”, I answered weakly.
“That I cannot explain..she is a bright child..and you provided her, unknowingly, with much needed support”, he said and started us on a new journey.
On the way home, I kept saying aloud:
“It must be a mistake!”
My husband looked and me and said:
“I was in the booth with her…I could hear the sound spilling from the headphones…she did not even react to it..she kept on playing with the blocks…”
It was decided: we were going to order hearing aids.
In retrospect, there were very subtle signs that something was different:
- Lyrics. She could never remember the lyrics of any song. At the same time, she could recite, from memory, the Polar Express and the Night Before Christmas by the time she was four.
- Cartoons. She liked only “people movies” even a s a little girl. We found out later that she could not read the lips of the cartoon characters.
- Listening. She spend and incredible amount of time looking at your face when you were talking to her. Even some of our friends and family members were aware of it.
There was one question that kept running through my mind:
“How did she learn to speak without hearing?”