Addison’s mom Lindy called Heartspring in November 2010 for a speech and language evaluation following recommendations from her pediatrician and ear, nose and throat doctor. Addison’s language was so severely delayed that no one could understand her. Doctors told Lindy that parents should not be translating for their three year old. At that time, Addison was on her third set of tubes, had her tonsils & adenoids removed, and sinus surgery all with in a year’s time. A speech and language evaluation was no big deal…so her parents thought.
As a part of the speech and language evaluation at Heartspring, children also have their hearing tested. “It is extremely important that we know children can hear the sounds we are asking them to make in a speech and language evaluation,” said Kimberly Becker, director of Pediatric Services. “Hearing and speech go together on every level. You can not learn and use speech and language to communicate if you can not hear it properly.” In January 2011 Lindy received news she was not expecting from Heartspring audiologists, Addison had a conductive hearing loss in both ears.
In cases of conductive hearing loss, sound waves are not transmitted effectively to the inner ear because of some interference. Modern techniques make it possible to cure or at least improve the vast majority of cases involving problems with the outer or middle ear. Most benefit greatly from a hearing aid, because what they need most is amplification.*
“It broke my heart to hear (about her hearing loss),” said Lindy. “My world came crashing down. But (the audiologists) were there holding my hand and explaining the loss and our options. The staff at Heartspring knew it was a struggle to hear the diagnosis.”
It was a very special day when Addison first put on her new hearing aids. Immediately she lifted her head and looked around the room. Lindy whispered quietly in her ear, “Can you hear me?” A huge smile spread across Addison’s face as she nodded her head yes.
Addison works directly with the audiologists to assist in programming her hearing aids. “From the identification of the hearing loss to the fitting and follow up with new hearing aids Addison has been a charmer to work with,” said audiologist Linda Parmiter-Jacobs.
“She picked her own cool colors for her hearing aids and ear molds and is the perfect patient. She loves to wear her hearing aids and reminds the family should someone forget to put them on. She now likes my computer when we hook up all the gear to conduct "Real Ear" testing. Listening is now fun as it should be.”
Addison began receiving speech services at Heartspring in January 2011 to address her severe speech deficits. She sees speech-language pathologist Emily Foerschler twice a week for 30 minutes. “Addison loves coming to speech and was so proud to show me her hearing aids the first day that she came for speech,” said Emily. “Each session Addison works on improving her articulation skills as well as her listening and discrimination of sounds and words. She responds well to using visual and tactile cues to facilitate speech sounds such as S and K. She also enjoys being a helper during speech by putting things away when we are done. I can always count on Addison to be excited for speech, greet me with a smile and work hard to earn her Smarties.
Lindy has strong feelings about her experience here. “Heartspring is a godsend for our family. I get all choked up talking about it. Heartspring is not a doctor’s office; it is almost like home,” Lindy said. “It is a warm and inviting place where your child can learn and grow.”