By Kathie Dolce, HBCE
**Orginally published in the Fall 2007 Special Needs issue of The Journal of API
When my granddaughter Anna was already over a year old, her parents began to realize she did not hear. Before this, Anna had made lots of sounds, including “mama,” “dada,” and everything else babies usually say. She seemed very tuned-in to everything around her, knew when her mom came home and made the sign to nurse before mom even came into view. But she had never startled to sound of any sort.
Her older siblings played a game of coming up behind her and tapping her shoulder, whereupon Anna would spin around and laugh hysterically. Her parents realized that she did not hear her siblings sneaking up on her. As Anna stopped vocalizing, her parents became concerned that she was losing her hearing.
Her audiogram at 15 months showed Anna to be profoundly deaf and subsequent CT and MRI imaging indicated that she was missing more than two-thirds of her cochlea – inner ear structures that form at six to nine weeks gestation. She was also missing the acoustic nerve on one side. Anna never had hearing. (There is no prenatal testing or imaging that could have shown this.)
Continue reading Anna’s Story: The Importance of Hearing Screenings in Newborns