Few weeks back I witnessed an instance where a hard of hearing child was asked a question and in answer he said something that was totally unrelated to it. As some people laughed, (can’t blame them, it was indeed funny) I wondered how his parents might have felt. Surely, I would have felt a little sad and embarrassed if it were Adith. Soon after that, I had a similar situation and I thought I will share it here.
Though we have been in Pittsburgh for 4 years now, we have not fully explored it and hence this summer, I decided to tour the city a little bit. ‘Ducky tour’ was something that I have been wanting to try for a long time. In case you don’t know, it is a boat which has wheels and it can go on land and in water. It seemed to be a fun ride especially since Pittsburgh is a beautiful city with 3 rivers and a historic background. We booked for a Saturday evening and started our journey from “Station Square”. It was a unique experience going through downtown in an open vehicle! The captain drove the boat through downtown while a guide narrated several interesting facts about the city of Pittsburgh. At intervals, we would greet people on the streets with a loud “Quack Quack” and they would return it!
Our guide informed us that Pittsburgh was named ‘Steel City’ after the amount of steel it produced during World War II and that it is second only to Venice in the number of bridges. Some buildings in downtown were once the tallest in the whole of US! It was very informative and the guide engaged us by asking questions and using good humor. However, I had to strain to hear all this even though I was sitting in the very front. Since it was open, there was the hustle and bustle of the city and adding to it was the noisy engine! I guessed that Adith could not hear anything of what the guide said. It was too much background noise for him.
After 20 minutes we entered the river rather dramatically.. the captain drove us straight into a river! Now, the sound got even worse. Even though I was speaking loudly into his hearing aids, I knew he was not quite hearing well.
After a while, the captain asked for volunteers to steer the boat. Only kids were allowed so we let them know that Adith would like to have a turn. With each child, the captain would ask their name and then ask if he could have a “Quack Quack” from them. Since I was not certain if he would understand “Can I have a Quack Quack from you?”, I explained it to him in advance. And then it was Adith’s turn.
First the Captain took a pic of him steering the boat in Loveson’s phone.
Captain: “So we have a smart boy out here. Hi buddy, what is your name?”
Adith: “Quack Quack!”
The boat erupted with laughter and actually, so did I. Somehow, I did not feel bad. It was just too funny. So much so for me preparing him in advance, lol.
I realized that Adith could not hear a thing and he just blurted out “Quack Quack” supposing that to be the question. I remembered the other little boy and realized that his parents might not have actually felt bad after all. It is ok to have some lighter moments like this!
There are plenty of instances when Adith has astounded me with his intelligence and keen observation skills. Even though his hearing loss might mean some funny moments as these, it certainly does not define him or limit him. In fact I think it is important that we bring him up in a mood where he can humor himself with his loss!
And now for an update on how he is doing post cochlear implant activation:
Contrary to my thoughts, he never expressed a resentment of any sort to putting it on. At the same time, he did not appear to be keen on wearing it either. It was just a neutral stand. By the third day, he expressed some understanding of speech with the implant alone. The audiologist has asked us to train him with the the implant alone for a small amount of time every day but he always asks for his hearing aid as soon as I try this! But one thing is for sure, every day it is getting better. We go back on Monday for the next mapping appointment and hopefully based on his responses, we should be able to program it better.