Thursday, October 7, 2010

Audiogram- Holy Grail

So my recent posts have stirred the pot a bit. I feel I need to clear up a few points based on some of the comments I am getting. I think the organization hosting the competition is awesome. I feel like some folks see me as ungrateful. Maybe you think I am the type of person to kick a patron saint. This is not the case. I think many deaf kids have benefited from this contest. I just am perplexed by the requirement of a current audiogram. I agree that proof is a good thing to avoid problems.

First, my son is not a typical deaf kid. Most of the deaf kids we meet are seeking some sort of medical intervention related to their hearing. My son is not. He was born with a profound hearing lose. At the age of 18 months it was suggested he try a CI. After doing some research we decided against it. We decided to raise him bi/bi. He had several audiograms in the first few years. They were all pretty much the same. We were told with aids he might be able to hear a fire engine.

Over the years we have not been advised to have more audiograms. Not one professional educator or medical professional has suggested this. My son did request one in elementary school he is now almost thirteen. Every instance where one was requested the last one has been used with no problem.

We also researched the IFSP and IEP. WE found deaf kids were being tested for social and emotional problems before there was any indication of an issue. Psychological evaluations were involved in the process. I noticed that deaf kids were more likely to be labeled with behavior problem. We decided since he had a natural native first language and no sign of any other issue to refuse these tests. There was no need to set him up for a label.

We feel that there is no need to treat his deafness as a medical issue because we are not seeking any medical intervention. Maybe we are making a big mistake but we are willing to take that chance. So far he is doing great and testing academically above typical deaf children. Socially and emotionally he seems to be doing just fine.

So back to the contest. The rules assume all deaf kids would naturally have a current audiogram. My son has participated in deaf contests and camps before. They always accept his old one with no question. He is also in a public school which could easily verify he is still deaf. He also attended the state deaf school up until 6th grade. They would be happy to verify he is in fact really deaf. The deaf school mandates an audiogram for admission. So I have a well rounded , confident clever Deaf kid. What I don't have is a deaf kid with a current audiogram.

So my point is, it is easy for kids with more hearing to enter the contest. He is too deaf to use the phone or learn to talk but he has to go pay for a test to prove he is deaf. Ironic? Well we just think it is funny. It also gives us an opportunity to question.

I was told to "deal with it!" . The idea that I don't "deal with it" is again funny. I "deal" with "it". So does my son. He doesn't try and pass as hearing. He is a teacher by default every day of his life. He does however question. Some times we find people are so used to doing things one way and it isn't a way that benefits the deaf child. If I just deal with it every time we are presented with something we don't agree with how does that benefit my son?

Here is an example. I am now dealing with an interpreter schedule issue. He has two qualified interpreters working two week shifts. The problem comes when the transition happens. There is a catch up time because the language at the school is unique. It is an art school, The district wants to keep it the way it is because their stance in the past has been kids get too dependent if they have one. This does not apply to my son who is almost too independent. So would you suggest I just accept this while my son's education suffers and there is an easy fix? Maybe because that is just the way it is done? The contest issue is funny this issue is not.

Someone suggested I should allow him to decide. I did. I don't decide for my son what he does I just advocate until he is old enough to do it himself. I was surprised to hear from his principal he signed up for morning announcement auditions. The announcement is broadcast over a PA system with no video. My kid has balls and navigates his life pretty well without me deciding for him.

My son thought this contest would be fun. The hassle of getting an updated audiogram just for this has taken the fun out of it.


  1. Jessica, former student of AudiologyOctober 7, 2010 at 12:45 PM

    I think I understand your concern; getting an audiogram to prove you're deaf is like getting a DNA test to prove you're African-American. I am neither D/deaf nor African-American, but from where I sit it would seem that once you become a part of a culture it becomes your identity and a graph on a piece of paper becomes a pretty shallow way of measuring identity.

    But of course, the essay contest isn't about identity, it's about decibels. The decibels that define your son. Science geeks might get a kick out of it, but it's been my experience that most people don't appreciate being defined by a personal characteristic they can't control.

  2. It's a screening mechanism to make sure the eligible contestants are really deaf. It does seem unfair to make them go through the expense of obtaining a current audiogram when in the regular contest that isn't necessary.

    Maybe the nearest school for the deaf can provide an audiogram for free? Being state supported? It shouldn't take long to verify and update an audiogram.

  3. Thanks for the comments. Dianrez you are right I could take him to WSD the problem is I would have to pull him from school. His school is really challenging so we try and get all of his medical stuff in the summer. Also he is a little turned of about the contest now and is looking at the one for all kids. That is great advice though.

  4. As the parent of a child who get regular audiograms (progressive loss leading to CI) and chose to become oral (never expected that), I take offense to some of the words you chose and implications you made.

    You implied that by getting regular audiological visits and hearing aids or CI's that we are "seeking a medical solution" to our child's deafness. That isn't true. My child benefits from her hearing devices and loves them. They are not a solution, they are a tool. I have chosen to arm my child with ALL the tools for communication that are available. You chose not to, and that is fine, but do not look down on people whose children do get benefit.

    That brings me to the second point:"try to pas as hearing". Again, just because my child can and does speak, and can understand and use the phone, does NOT mean she is trying to pass as hearing. She is just as Deaf as your son, she just chooses to wear her deafness in a different way. She is Deaf, she is also oral. She hears and speaks but her native language is ASL. She may decide that she wants to function as an oral deaf person someday (AGAIN, that is not "pretending to be hearing") but she could as easily choose to be voice off Deaf, but at least she had the choice.

    I assume you didn't mean to offend, but it feels like you truly believe that you are right and all the parents of deaf kids who chose a different path are miserable, deluded fools.

  5. Oh, and through out the post you implied that using spoken language leads to behavior and social and emotional problem. That is not the case. My experience as well as the latest research shows this is no longer true. In fact, the research showed that kids with CI's score equal to hearing kids in reading, language, math, and self esteem...all areas tested.

    Just a thought..

  6. *CAT FIGHT!*

    Sorry I couldn't resist. OK misskat we have been through this before about my "I hate car alarms" post. I realize you are very emotional and need to come here to vent. If you really need another long winded useless debate I can't oblige tonight but I would be happy to pencil you in sometimes next week schedule permitting. So now might be a good time to take a deep breath and read my post in context not inserting your child.

    Warm wishes,

  7. Maybe you should re-read your post.

    I'm not emotional, in fact, I am very confident in the choices I've made. You have been very successful with your child and he is dong very well. BUT, you are implying that parents that have made other choices are trying to "fix" their child. And that choosing to amplify or teach a child spoken language is "treating deafness as a medical issue".

    I choose to support ALL parents choices. I know that a child can be successful in any mode of communication. I get the impression from the entirety of your blog that you do not believe that.

    Again, I was not looking for a fight, but I would encourage you to re-read your post and see if you see judgement.

  8. Miss Kat's mom, I wonder if you are trying to prove a've been criticized in the past for seeking a medical "fix" and now are turning the tables criticizing a parent who made the opposite decision.

    If that's not the intention, let me say that I don't see it that Haddy2dogs is pushing her option at all.

    In every option there are drawbacks and she's venting about hers same as you vented about the difficulties in second CI adjustment.

    Proceed with the cat fight. It's refreshing to see PARENTS face off for a change. Love you both.

  9. I believe that she is criticizing parents who choose to use amplification. She sees that as trying to "fix" deaf children, and I vehemently disagree.

  10. I've been following this saga for a few days. When I first read about the audiogram requirement for the contest I figured that they wanted proof that the contestant is audiologically deaf. Since I'm a recently -retired teacher of Deaf kiddies (trained orally but thanks to my Deaf friends now fluent in ASL) I am familiar with the contest. I had trouble seing why having an audiogram done was such a problem since as Dianrez has indicated the test is often required for VRS and othr sedrvices. I'm also aware that the top winner from where I live was a Deaf girl who did a fully ASL presentation.She also has no speech. She was a deaf kid like your son, who was blessed with hearing parents who decided to become fully fluent in ASL and went through the mainstream with Interpreters because she was way ahead academically of her Deaf peers. The audiogram was required then but it is also to enter Gallaudet. So, I'm still left with the question, "What's the big deal?" I'm not implying a value judgment as it might sound. It's just my gut question that I haven't heard answered unless I'm missing something and I could be. In any case...all the best to Haddy in whatever he does.

  11. Miss Kat, I don't believe she was implying anything. She's speaking only of her son and nobody else. Miss Kat, I know you do not like it when people come to your blog and criticize the choices you have made for your daughter. Though it seems you are doing the same.

  12. schmind you are right it shouldn't be a big deal but we don't need one for anything else right now. He receives no social services and everything else that requires one accepts the one we have. To me it is more just funny since he is so deaf and kids who one paper are less deaf have their audiograms as part of daily life. It is just a personal choice for us. I do love hearing others opinions. I sometimes learn a lot from comments.

    In order for me to get one I would have to pull him from school. He is at school from 9:30 am to as late as 9pm. I also have a ton to do everyday. I have a mother with dementia so I am learning medicare and elder law. I spend countless hours managing her affairs.

    My son is deaf so right now I am researching 504 law, refreshing my memory about IDEA law , advocating for different interpreter services, I also monitor his education to make sure the teachers are on board since this is a new school with one deaf kid. Again countless hours.

    I also have two jobs a 7 year old daughter and at some point I need to have some time for me, still working on that. I am not complaining just illustrating why this is a bit of a pain.

    So my point is my son wanted to join a contest. He is deaf and I have ways to verify that. It just isn't worth the trouble. In my private life off this blog we talked about it maybe three times. The last time we just laughed at the irony. I blogged about it because it is a good topic and I think it is really hilarious.

    In the future if when he really needs a current one of course we will get it. I just don't think this contest needs the current audiogram of a kid who can't get any more deaf. I am saying my son is more deaf physically by the way.

    Thanks Ericka you are right.

    As I type this I am on hold with medicare. I am hoping they got the copy of the Power of Attorney so I can access her account. The POA proves I have this right which is cool but it is a real pain proving it. I don't mind, I just "deal with it"

  13. How do they know when the old audiogram was done? Can't you just photocopy the relevant bits of it, if you know what I mean?

    I say this because I live in France and the audiograms we get here look like elementary school connect-the-dots projects. The ENT just scribbles a few things on the chart and gives it to us like that, with no date. If you want I can send you one. My daughter has very little hearing so they probably look pretty much the same (blank?)

    I agree that you should put him in the regular contest!

    Or aren't there audiology places that do "free hearing tests" for people who might need hearing aids? Maybe you could take him to one of those with his old audiogram and explain what you need. Anyway a hearing test for him should only take about 30 seconds.

  14. Debra you are so funny! You are brilliant! You made my day. So he decided not to enter the contest because he wants to join the Tech club at school. That with the play he is in books him up. The funny thing is in Tech you have to climb scaffolds to rig lights. I wonder if there is an interpreter willing to take that job?

    Thanks for a great, creative comment.