Monday, February 22, 2016

Deaf teens don't have to worry about going deaf at a concert

Chance's school had a lip sync contest this past week.  Chance and his brother joined one of the teachers and performed a wonderful rendition of Vanilla Ice's song, "Ice Ice Baby."  I did not get a recording of it as I ran in just as the song was ending.  Thankfully, one of Chance's friends recorded the performance so I could see it.  The performance won 3rd place and came with a trophy and a bag of chocolates.

After the show was over, a local band held a concert in the gym. Any of you who have attended a concert for teenagers knows that the music is usually loud.  By loud I mean that people in the next county can hear it.  This concert was no different and two giant speakers blasted music out into the gym. Naturally the teens all gathered right up at the front of the stage where the music was the loudest.  I joined the boys up front and enjoyed the music for a bit.  Having deaf children makes one think of hearing and loud noises differently than the average Joe. I couldn't help but think that I may be loosing some hearing standing there so close to the speaker.  Chance's brother apparently felt the same way as after a while he approached me from the side and said he thought he may go deaf with how loud the music was if he stayed much longer.

Then there was Chance.  Chance was standing right next to the speaker rocking out.  His friends were amazed at his ability to be so close and not be uncomfortable as the rest of us could feel actual hair cells dying when we were that close to the speaker.

The moral of this story is, if you are going to attend a rock concert with your deaf teenager, you need to remember that you and your hair cells are on your own with the noise.  Your teen is already deaf, so that is no longer a concern they have.

For your amusement, here is a dancing hair cell.  One that has not yet been killed by attending a really loud concert.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

A day in the life of a mother with deaf children

Today I thought I would provide some insight about what it is like living with deaf children.  Two incidents happened today, one with each of my deaf boys that I am quite sure are unique to a mother who has deaf children.

The first incident happened at the school when we went to see Ammon's sister play basketball.  On our way to the school, Ammon informed me that his hearing aid battery was dead and that he needed a new one.  I keep hearing aid batteries and cochlear implant batteries in my bag for obvious reasons so I wasn't that concerned about the hearing aid.  I figured we would just change out the battery when we got to the school.  Ammon does not like to go without hearing for any amount of time, so he was trying to tell me that he needed the battery right now.  As I was driving, through a construction zone no less, I told him that he would have to wait until we got to the school to change the battery.  He didn't really like this plan, but seeing as he couldn't reach my purse, and I couldn't hand it to him while driving through a construction zone, the situation was what it was.

While I was pulling my bag out in the parking lot, Ammon started to tell me what the difference is between hearing aid batteries and cochlear implant batteries.  He explained that the hearing aid batteries were the little ones and that the cochlear implant batteries were the bigger ones. How long have I been dealing with batteries for my deaf kids I ask you.  The answer is 9 1/2 years. I can see though that even after all of this experience, my young son doubts my ability to choose the correct battery for the situation.

Then later tonight as I sat in the living room with Chance, me in one chair and he in the other, I had an incident with my cell phone.  By incident I mean that I got a call from a number here in town twice in a row that I missed.  I wasn't sure whose number it was, so I called it back.  No one answered the phone, but my cell phone wouldn't hang up.  It kept ringing, ringing and ringing and the screen that would allow me to hang up disappeared. I could get to the screen to dial and call someone, but not the one that had the red button that ended a call.  I was gesturing with a "what in the world" sort of gesture and Chance noticed asking what was going on.  I started to answer him, then realized that Chance did not have his implants on, and furthermore, he had asked me the question and then turned away to look at the computer screen.  I am thinking that he didn't really want to know what was going on over in my chair:)

And then there is my all time favorite thing that happens when you have deaf children.  When they hear something wrong, they think you said it wrong, not that they heard it wrong.  For example, I will tell Ammon to move the chair and he will say, "Mom! You said move the hair!" Then he will laugh.  I know that I am not perfect when I speak every time, but it is interesting how your deaf kids figure that it must be you talking wrong rather than them hearing you wrong.

Last but not least, deaf children like to ask you questions when they cannot hear the answers. Big questions, how does the world work questions first thing in the morning or at bedtime, both times when hearing aids and implants are no longer on.  Here are a few of the questions I have been asked by deaf children who have no hearing device on:
How does electricity move through wire?
How do hydraulic engines work?
How come we can't see all of the planets at night?
Why did dinosaurs go extinct?
How do airplanes stay up in the air?

I am delighted that my children are curious about the world they live in. We just have to delay some answers until they can hear them:)

Monday, February 01, 2016

Implant found!

Chance has had a stressful weekend.  Friday night his implant died while he was driving us home from his grandparents' house.  Chance has a learners permit as opposed to a driver's license which means he gets to drive with his dad or I whenever he drives.  It is a great time in the life of a parent as you have a very motivated teenager who wants to drive and they can't do it with out you:)

While Chance was driving he handed me both implants and told me to switch the batteries as the implant that had died was his right one which is the one that was facing me in the passenger seat.  He told me to switch the batteries so that he would be able to hear me.

That was the last time he remembered seeing both implants. Chance went right in and went to sleep.

Chance woke up on Saturday morning, and couldn't find his right implant.  At first we thought it would just be a few minutes before he located the lost implant which had most likely fallen off while he was sleeping.

Chance was quite troubled that he could not find his implant and was not satisfied with just wearing one.  He spent a good chunk of Saturday looking for that implant.  By Saturday night, his dad was even offering a reward to anyone who found it.

Sunday morning we all went to church and Chance was still running on one implant.  As luck would have it, one of Chance's siblings was slow getting ready so we were a few minutes late which meant we had to sit in the back. Today was a meeting called Stake Conference (including about 10 individual congregations) that is held every 6 months so there were more people than normal trying to fit in the overflow seating area. And as luck would have it, the speakers were out in the back of the church and as technical people tried to fix the problem, my little deaf boys were hearing nothing.  I was having a hard time hearing since we were so far back and every time a baby cried, or someone moved their chair, it would block out the speaker's voice.

After about 10 minutes, I told Chance's older brother to out in the hall to see if the sound was better out there since there is a speaker by the entrance doors.  He came back and said that you could hear a lot better out in the hall, so we started moving in that direction.  Once we were out in the hall, one of the ushers told us that they had just opened a meeting room up the hall and that we could go in there. The speakers were fabulous in there!  Chance came into the room and his face broke into a huge smile and he sat down in one of the cushioned chairs able to hear all that was being said.

I was really starting to get concerned that Chance would not have both implants for school and then Chance finally found his implant.  It was in a Pringles container. That's right, a Pringles potato chip container which was laying next to where Chance fell asleep.  Doesn't everyone keep their implant in a potato chip container? If they don't they should:)  It is well protected in there and no one will be able to steal it.