Jan 17 2023
My Child Has Hearing Loss, Now What?
Dr. Michelle Hu was diagnosed with mild hearing loss secondary to Enlarged Vestibular Aqueduct Syndrome/Pendred Syndrome and fit with bilateral hearing aids shortly after. Her mom was told that she would probably never read beyond a third-grade reading level. As a result of EVAS, her hearing loss progressed each time she hit her head. This happened in 1st, 3rd and 5th grade, and by age 10 she had profound sensorineural hearing loss bilaterally.During her senior year of college, she had another sudden drop in hearing. She was sitting in the lobby waiting to have her hearing tested when her mom suggested that perhaps she'd make a good audiologist since she had firsthand experience with hearing loss and hearing aids. She was still unsure of what direction she wanted to go after graduation and this suggestion floored her. Yes, she wanted to help others in a healthcare setting, but she just didn’t have a pull to a specific field. That year, her hearing came back with the help of intratympanic steroid injections, but she was already filling out applications with the goal to attend the Northeast Ohio Audiology Consortium.It was during her third year in graduate school that she and her classmates started to learn about cochlear implants. One night she was excitedly chatting about CI's with her parents, and they told her that she has been a CI candidate since she was young. They had chosen not to move forward since they were wary of the technology at the time and told Michelle she had adapted and learned how to thrive academically, that they did not feel it was a necessity. Michelle decided to undergo pre-CI evaluations and was implanted later that year. For the first time in a very long time, she could hear her feet shuffle on the carpet, the turn signal of her car, utensils tapping on dishes and leaves rustling with the wind. She could hear and understand conversation in a dark car, on the telephone; her confidence soared. She no longer avoided birthday parties, movie theaters or other social gatherings.She's since moved across the country from Kent, Ohio to San Diego, California to work as a pediatric audiologist. She doesn't think she would have made such a big move had she not received her first cochlear implant. She did not have the confidence to feel safe walking alone at night or talking on the phone with anyone other than her parents. About 5 years ago, Michelle had the opportunity to scratch culinary school off of her bucket list. It was THE most difficult listening situation that she chose to subject herself to for a long time (eight months exactly). The tiled floors, stainless steel equipment, appliances, high ceilings, exhaust fans, walls of refrigerators and water constantly running were an educational audiologist's acoustic nightmare! Not to mention, her chef/professor had a heavy French accent! She had him wear her FM system, constantly asked for repetition, asked her station buddy for clarification, and took copious notes. She spilled things, broke dishes, lost fingertips, burned herself - but despite the difficult learning environment, she mastered sauces, broke down poultry and seafood, created menus, plated, garnished, and in her own words, "It was WORTH it!"Connect with Dr. Michelle Hu by visiting her website. Connect with the Hearing Matters Podcast TeamEmail: email@example.com Instagram: @hearing_matters_podcast Twitter: @hearing_mattasFacebook: Hearing Matters Podcast