We have had the pleasure of knowing the Yan family since Ian was just three months old! Here is their family’s story as shared by mom, Grace.
Hello! I’m Grace, and my husband David and I have three sons. When people meet our family, they often say “Wow-three boys!” I guess it’s because most people tend to find managing three boys challenging. My days are full of surprises from Kai (11), Xin-En (9) and Ian (3). Both my husband David and our youngest son, Ian, are hard-of-hearing.
When we first found out that our youngest son Ian is hard-of-hearing, we were worried that he would not be able to learn at the same pace compared to peers of his age. However, with early intervention and two really supportive elder brothers, our worry quickly dissipated. Ian is now learning to talk really well and is such an energetic and school-loving toddler.
Ian wears two hearing aids. We have found that generally when someone asks about Ian’s hearing aid, they have little understanding about hearing loss. Usually they think that hearing loss is something that can be cured or that it only applies to elderly people. We have found it comforting when someone shares that they themselves wear a hearing aid or someone in their family has a hearing loss.
For Ian, we prefer the term “super ears,” just like how the Marvel superhero Ironman uses wearable technology to overcome human limitations. So when asked, we simply answer that Ian was born with hearing loss and the “super ears” help him to hear much better. Usually when people get to know Ian better, they realize that he is coping really well with his hearing aids and that he is really good at remembering names!
We have come a long way over the past three years. When Ian’s hearing loss was confirmed at nine weeks old, it was heartbreaking for us parents to be at the receiving end of such unwelcome news. It should have been a time of celebration and joy, and yet we were running around to different clinics and hospitals and trying to digest all the information and uncertainties surrounding Ian’s diagnosis. Lots of questions popped into our minds during the initial stages – and the numerous medical follow-ups forced our family to re-arrange our priorities and to adapt to Ian’s
The intervention team through the BC Early Hearing Program was very efficient. They provided the contacts for the different agencies and continued to stay connected and ready to help whenever required. We were also linked up with a Parent Guide through the Guide by Your Side program, who herself had been through similar experiences. My circle of friends are limited by their lack of experience with hearing issues, whereas our Parent Guide’s sharing of her own bitter-sweet experience and little nuggets of advice were really uplifting during those times. Still, I was overwhelmed
by the load of information provided by the different agencies and I found it difficult to handle both the emotional and time management aspects of things at the same time. However, I figured it was my responsibility to read through the information and decide what was best for Ian and our family. It was a relief to finally choose an agency and settle into regular weekly intervention sessions and sign language instruction.
Even after we started with intervention and sign language at BCFHRC, for the first year I wondered how much sound Ian was able to hear, and if I was doing enough to help him. Furthermore, with the focus on Ian, I felt a little guilty and wondered if his two older brothers felt neglected. It was a struggle to manage everything together at the same time and it seemed like a long wait
before we would know how Ian was doing with his “super ears”. We found sign language very helpful at that time, and Ian used quite a few signs before he started to use spoken language.
Now that Ian enjoys talking and singing, and is well aware of his surroundings and often asked for his hearing aids when we have forgotten to put them on for him, my initial worries and fears have mostly dissipated. I am really thankful and grateful to the wonderful team of people (shout out to Teresa, Karen, Cathy, Amy, Maybelle, and many others….) who have helped Ian and guided
us along the way. They are always ahead of us, providing fresh ideas and suggestions on how to bring out the best in Ian.
Currently, Ian is attending the PALS program at BC Family Hearing Resource Centre. It is a back-to-school experience for me as I learn and grow with him. Most importantly, he really feels at home and a sense of connection with his PALS friends and teachers. In fact Ian noticed that many of them are wearing “super ears” just like him!