by Leah F.

photo of Mira

My daughter, Mira, who is now 9 years old, was diagnosed with a sensorineural hearing loss at 3 weeks of age. I remember the day vividly. She had failed the newborn hearing screening when she was born. They had told me this was normal and that there was a lot of fluid. When we returned for follow up she failed again and I was told she needed an ABR. There was not a thought in my mind that something was wrong.

At the ABR a couple of weeks later it was then that we received news I never had even thought of. Starving my newborn baby in the early morning hours to bring her to a test in a hospital where she needed to be still and sleeping I watched as they brought us into a very quiet sound proof room with a small crib and wires. I watched as they put little tubes into my daughters’ ears attached to a computer and the sensor pads on her head.

After a couple hours of testing I was asked if my husband was close and could I have him come for the results. This is when I knew something was wrong. I called my husband and when the Audiologist went through the results, all I heard was that my baby was deaf and I started to cry and wondered what did I do wrong.

Hours after the diagnosis I called the Audiologist back to fully understand what I was told. She repeated to me with empathy and feelings that my daughter had a moderate to severe hearing loss in her left ear and a severe hearing loss in her right ear. My baby was deaf and in need of hearing aids. What an emotional roller coaster ride, which has lead to an amazing journey and world that I never dreamed was possible.

Mira wore hearing aids from practically birth until the age of 3 when we had finally decided that a cochlear implant was our next path. At the age of 3 and after numerous paperwork and meetings with ENTs, Audiologists, and Psychologists we had decided that we would have Mira undergo surgery in August 2007 on her right ear which was profoundly deaf. It was heartbreaking to have my daughter in a hospital bed (as it is with any parent) to be told they would give her "laughing" juice and to only watch her lose control and function of her body and almost look drunk. They wheeled her down the hall. When she returned with the surgery successful she awoke to a large bandage over her ear. The journey had begun.

Over the next few months we were activated, but what was in store next we didn't realize, we had to find the right Speech Therapist to assist with teaching Mira how to "learn to listen", "listen to read" and "read to learn". The process was overwhelming at times but we pushed through knowing the decision we made for our daughter and family was the right one. We met strong and helpful people that guided us through our journey. They included Teachers of the Deaf, Audiologists, and Speech Therapists trained and specializing in children with hearing aids and cochlear implants.

At age 4 we decided that it was time that Mira had the surgery on her left ear so that she would have the utmost access to the world around her. At the same time, our school realized they could not service her properly and the search began for the right academic setting for Mira. When we reached Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech we knew that she was going to get the best benefits of her new access to the world. This was crucial in Mira's learning path and a benefit to everyone.

Now at the age of 9 and fully mainstreamed into our hometown school district, with a TOD (Teacher of the Deaf) from Clarke and a full functioning FM system with pass around microphone for group work, Mira learns and thrives. She is making hometown friends and she enjoys reading and dancing. Her dance studio even uses the FM to further the passion she has.

The journey is long and continuing. My daughter is deaf and proud but through technology we have been able to give her the gift to access sound, when she chooses. We are blessed as a family and continue to learn every day more about life.

This information is provided by the Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Program within the Department of Public Health .