Hello, we are the Ive Family: Trevor, Christina, Lainey and Norah. Lainey is our oldest at 4 years old. We were first introduced to the deaf and hard-of-hearing community after Norah was born.
**A story from our archives – Norah is currently in Kindergarten.**
Norah is now almost 2 ½ and has a mild sloping to moderate high frequency, sensorineural hearing loss; she is a happy, loving child and a blessing to our family.
When we first found out about Norah’s hearing loss at the newborn screening, we were shocked. We couldn’t understand what anyone was saying to us. We didn’t know to what degree she could or couldn’t hear. We were shattered. I remember trying to ‘test’ her hearing at home in that first month to see if she would react to different sounds. I had almost convinced myself that she could indeed hear, and that maybe she didn’t need any more testing. My mom suggested doing the ABR to clarify. Honestly I think we only thought that the options was hearing or not hearing at all. To say the least, I didn’t understand the spectrum of hearing loss at that time and I’m glad we had more testing done.
Norah was fitted for hearing aids when she was 6 month old. Because her hearing loss is mild to moderate, we were given the choice of whether or not to get hearing aids for her. We had a hard time knowing what would be the best for her. We talked to all our friends and family about it. I reached out to a girl I went to high school with that wore a hearing aid during that time. We researched everything and talked to Norah’s ENT, Dr. Dickson. I think the thing holding us back at the time was the appearance of hearing aids and that maybe I wouldn’t be able to snuggle Norah as much, that they wouldn’t be comfortable for nursing. Now, looking back, I am so happy we made this decision and gave her the best start at learning. For the most part, she loves her hearing aids. She asks for them first thing in the morning and never takes them out. We have noticed that when she doesn’t have them in, when we are swimming, or bath time, that she misses little parts of the conversation. She tries quickly to fill it in but it is rarely correct. In those times it is a quick reminder that we did make the right choice.
When she first got her hearing aids I remember thinking they were so much smaller then I imagined. Of course she was only 6 months and had no hair so they were obvious, now she has a ton of hair and you can’t tell. The cool thing about them being so visible when she was younger was that people in store or restaurant would come up to you and share there story of hearing loss. It wasn’t until she started talking that we could notice a difference between her wearing them or not. Norah has struggled with fluid in her ears a few times. We can usually tell when she has fluid because she can’t figure out where the sound is coming from. I could be a few feet away and call her name and she would run looking for me in the opposite direction. In those times we try to keep her closer to us, although she does that now on her own. We also try to talk slower and a bit louder.
Coming to BC Family Hearing Resource Centre really helped us cope on many levels. We learnt and were able to understand more about her hearing. We were able to connect with other families that were at the same stage we were at. It also helped to meet families that had already gone through this and get their stories and tips. Seeing older child and adults with similar loss made us know Norah was going to be all right. That hearing loss is just a part of who she is. I think that forming connections with other parents has been one of our best coping mechanisms. The understanding and little tips we can share with each other really makes the difference. As Norah gets older, I also think it is so great that she can see other children wearing hearing aids or cochlear implants. Having a specialist check in with on us on a weekly basis really helps keep us on track.
We are currently a part of the PNP group at BCFHRC and have attended the baby group in the past. We think it’s important that Norah sees other children that are the same as her. She has asked me where my hearing aids are before and we want to make sure she never sees them as something negative. I like how I am always learning something new from the teachers or other parents. Norah loves attending her group!
Our biggest worries are that she falls behind in speech or misses out on conversations with friends or instructions from teachers. We are working on the clarity of her speech at the moment, potty training and all the other normal 2-year-old development stages.
Our hope for Norah is that she learns to become her own advocate. That she is happy and confident with whom she is. Right now Norah loves Elmo and thinks it’s so funny to ask for Elmo everything! I’ll say, “can you put your shoes on?” And she will say, “Elmo shoes?” Then pause and say “no” then laugh. It’s really cute. She does that every time I ask her to do something or get something. Other then Elmo she loves puzzles, stickers colouring and stealing all her big sisters toys. If only we could have seen Norah now when she was first diagnosed, we could have saved ourselves a lot of stress and heartache. Everything is ok and she is perfect.