As Clara gets older, she’s starting to show signs of her hearing and speech capabilities.
But, science is science, and where there’s technology to assist in diagnosis, it’s always worth trying to find out a little bit more if possible.
So, we revisited audiology a few days ago to see if we could learn anything new about Clara’s Auditory Neuropathy Spectrum Disorder (ANSD) via another Auditory Brain Response ABR test.
This time, the Audiologists wanted to see if the ANSD was still present (and therefore always will be), or if Clara’s hearing has matured into a healthy state.
Whilst this sounds useful to know, trying to actually get the information is hard.
First and foremost, it requires the child to be asleep. I haven’t yet discovered a remote control that makes a child sleep on demand, have you? If you have, you must be a very wealthy person..
So I put a plan in place. The appointment was perfectly timed for after lunch when Clara usually naps for two hours anyway. So, we got to the hospital really early and we had lunch, people watched, went and said Hello to the Tom’s Ward team who gave Clara lots of attention, and played in the play area.
On paper she should have been exhausted! And she was, until the test began.
The Auditory Brain Response (ABR) test involves vigorously running behind Clara’s ears and her forehead before attaching sticky pads with associated wires attached.
In an ideal world, the child would then sleep and the wires would hook into a device plugged into a laptop which would monitor brain waves.
When the child is asleep, sound will be played into their ears and the corresponding brain activity will be monitored.
Aside from requesting the child stays awake until the point they’re ready to start the test, I’m not sure how they ask expect someone to stay sleeping with loud sound being played in their ears!
Clara was all wired up, the trail ends of the wires wrapped around the pushchair so I could take her for a walk up and down the corridors to get her to sleep before returning to plug her in.
Yep that’s a tear you can see! She was not happy at having her head rubbed intensely, understandably.
So we walked, and Clara felt asleep.
We returned to the test room, held a large earphone to her ear and the loud vibrating sound began to play.
And Clara woke up. And then got very upset and refused to settle again, fully aware that she wasn’t in a normal napping environment and was being observed.
It’s almost laughable – what else did they really expect was going to happen? I thoroughly agree it was worth a try but someone somewhere has to design a test that’s a bit more practical in real life.
So that was that, the appointment was over. And cheeky little Clara was very happy to wave goodbye!
But that in itself proves a lot.
I verbally said to Clara “say bye bye” – and she waved.
I didn’t wave, I just verbally instructed her.
So who knows how her Auditory Neuropathy Spectrum Disorder is going to present itself, if it’s even there.
Some days I think it is, some days I think it isn’t.
In a few weeks time we’ve got another Visual Reinforcement Audiology test – this involves no science and no technology, but a watch and learn approach. And Clara’s results came back great last time! So whilst the ABR results suggest profound deafness, the VRA tests show almost full hearing.
It’s just another case of sit back, wait and see. But that’s fine by me. It doesn’t change a thing – she’s still the happiest girl you’ll ever meet.