If you saw my Twitter, you’ll know that I fell of the map for a little there due to baby’s arrival! My son came on March 31, and he’s now 9 weeks old. I’m happy to report he did pass his initial hearing screening in the hospital (see adorable picture), and should have another exam later on due to my history. But from my observations, I believe his hearing is just fine (sometimes too good, especially when it’s time for him to sleep).

Hearing screening in progress!

Something that I anticipated happening due to no good alternative was wearing my hearing aid at night, and that has turned out to be true. Without my hearing aid, I definitely can’t hear baby crying, and with it, I hear everything, to include his little fussing noises and my husband’s loud snoring. It’s not ideal, but I’ve gotten used to it. On the weekends, my husband takes the baby so I can sleep without my aid in (and on my left side, where I wear it).

I am currently in transition to not wearing my hearing aid at night, as baby just moved to his crib in the nursery this week. I’m using the Amplicomms Watch & Care monitor with the extra vibration pad, and I’ve finally tooled with the settings enough that it does go off when baby hollers, but not every time he makes a sound. So really, it’s just up to me and my comfort level. The past couple of nights, I’ve turned the volume down on my aid to get used to not relying on the sound, and it’s going okay! Still, it’ll be weird to take the aid out after wearing it for over two months straight.

Furthermore, I don’t have enough confidence to shower without my husband or another family member watching the baby, since I have to take my aid out for that too. If I was in a real pinch though, I’d put him in his crib and get his mobile going and run in.

One nice upside though… when baby just won’t stop crying, it is a perk to be able to turn off my hearing aid for a few minutes and gather myself, even if I feel a bit guilty doing that sometimes!

At the time of this post, I’m not a mama just yet, unless you count my sweet dog. But I’ve got a little boy on the way! If you’ve taken a look around, you might have learned that I’m nearly totally deaf in one ear and wear a hearing aid in the other. I grew up speaking, though, and for the most part, didn’t think about my hearing loss that much until I got pregnant.

Baby’s due in a few short months, and there are a few things I’ve had to think about.

Baby Monitor

I needed to find a monitor that would work for me. My sister-in-law started on it early for me and did a great job searching! Once I realized there just wasn’t a lot of good up-to-date information out there, I made this website initially for my post on baby monitors for the deaf and hard of hearing. You can click here to see what I went with–I wanted regular video/audio functionality AND vibration suitable enough to wake me at night when I don’t wear my hearing aid. My husband hears, so I don’t want to put him in the position of always hearing the baby first and having to get me up, so this was important to me! It’s disappointing that there’s such a lack of good equipment for this purpose, especially in the U.S.–my baby monitor is actually British.

The Baby’s Hearing
My recent audiogram.
My recent audiogram.

When I was born in 1986, my hearing wasn’t tested, so my hearing loss wasn’t diagnosed until about 15 months or so. There’s no history of hearing loss like mine in my family (and my younger brother hears just fine), and no one ever definitively figured out why it happened to me before/at birth. A few audiologists over the years have commented that my audiogram has the “cookie bite” shape typical of hereditary loss, but my most recent test a few months ago showed that the “cookie bite” has actually flattened out quite a bit since I was a child. My current audiologist said that she has no reason to believe my baby will have hearing loss just because I do.

I will be anxious for that first hearing test, and I expect the pediatrician will do a few extra follow-ups over the first year to confirm one way or the other. Regardless, I’m a big fan of using basic sign language with babies. My mom still remembers how I used to sign for “more cookies, please” (how many cookies was she feeding me??) and my nephew used it well (and still does) before he could verbalize what he wanted. I lost the sign language I used as a child, so I’ll need to brush up!

Hospital/Doctor Accommodations

My OBGYN knows I’m hearing impaired, and was appreciative of me telling her that I have a hard time with surgical masks, because I tend to lip-read (makes the dentist a challenge sometimes). I haven’t completed my hospital pre-registration just yet, but I took a peek at the form, and was happy to see multiple questions focused on deaf/hard of hearing accommodations. I can request closed captioning and a flashing telephone, and for those that sign, there are questions about interpreter needs. I’m so glad hearing loss isn’t an afterthought at my hospital, and I plan to talk with the doctors and nurses about it once I get there to deliver.

After Baby Arrives

This one will be trial and error and the subject of some future posts, I’m sure! The baby monitor will alleviate some of my concerns with sleeping, but I know most new moms have a hard time even indulging in sleep in those first weeks. I have to have my hearing aid out when I shower and before my hair is dry, and I’m not exactly sure what the best solution for that is, when I’m home alone with the baby.

If you’re a parent that is deaf/hard of hearing, let me know if there were any unique considerations you had to make!