KayTar's repeat hearing test is in a couple of hours. She's had a handful of them and while they've always been torturous due to her passionate disagreement with the sedative of choice, I've never been particularly anxious about them. I dread them, because KayTar is a belligerent little drunkard who won't politely pass out when drugged, but I don't fear them really. This time, the hardened knots in my stomach tell me things are different.
According to the last test, her hearing in her left ear has gone from a moderate to severe slope, to a profound to severe rise. Basically, it means that the sounds she used to be able to hear moderately, she no longer hears...not even with the aid of an aid. Before that test, I was partially expecting a change in her hearing...she has been missing sounds and getting confused by our speech lately and I felt like maybe something had changed. When the audiologist said there was a decrease, I nodded. "That's what I thought." I said. Then I asked, "How big of a decrease?" She said "30-40 decibels." That is when my stomach dropped a little. When I got the paperwork that said, "Profound." it dropped a bit more. Hearing impairment that can be scaffolded by a hearing aid is one thing, but hearing impairment that we can't somehow fix? That feels like something else entirely. Hearing loss that is still progressing? That feels like something else, too. It is scary to be faced with the reality that whatever has done this to her might not be done yet. Solid ground beneath our feet that has suddenly vanished.
Since the test, we've noticed her missing more speech sounds and seen various other little red flags that accompany hearing loss. Today, as much as I hope to hear it was all an error, I don't really believe it was. I expect to leave the office today with the same news as I did last time, with a belly full of lead and a mind full of questions that I can't answer for myself.
Today was a bit of a waste of time. We had to wait an extra long time to be seen (totally understandable as we've been the patient causing the hold up MANY times in there), so it was an extended waste of time. You see, KayTar wasn't really interested in the little testing game today and the audiologist wasn't really interested in trying to engage her in the little listening game. She wasn't defiant or cranky, she just wasn't really tuned in to the task at hand. So they gave up. QUICKLY. Too quickly for my liking actually. The audiologist did not adjust KayTar's hearing aid (which isn't a huge deal because if it has progressed to that level, the hearing aid won't help anymore) and she said we can try again in 3 months. BAH! (digression: my heart just temporarily stopped when I realized in roughly 3 months my little darling will have a feeding tube. Makes 3 months seem like no time at all, really. EEK!)
Rather than wait 3 months to repeat the exact same thing we did today, when we see her ENT next week for the tonsillectomy consult, I'll try to schedule a hearing test with his office (rather than the hospital) and also get her on the list for a sedated ABR with anesthesia (rather than chloral hydrate). I can ask him all the super fun questions regarding prognosis and treatment that are bouncing around in my head, too. Then we'll go from there. Of course, I'd prefer to have gotten a LITTLE information today, but this will work just as well, I suppose.