This is the most common question of the moment... Often asked by others and more often a question bouncing around our own heads on a daily basis.
Madison won't be going into a sound booth until she is a bit older, so the best way to guage whether or not the HAs are working is based strictly by observation. Most mornings, when the weather allows for it, Brian, myself, Madison and Alan go on a morning walk. Before receiving her HAs, she would fall asleep shortly after we leave the apartment. Lately, she has been awake and much more alert in her stroller - hopefully because she is hearing some sounds - sometimes she doesn't fall asleep until we return back to our apartment and go into the elevator.
There is a lot of construction going on in our neighborhood - which has been helpful to try and test out the HAs. A couple of weeks ago, I went on a mid-day walk with Madison to run some errands - first stop was the pediatrician's office - she was starting to doze off as we walked inside. Soon enough a loud screaming baby was brought by us - Madison quickly jerked and woke up. Did she hear the scream or was it just a coinscidence? Later on that walk, she was sound asleep - we approached a jackhammer (literally 5 feet from us) and she did not budge. On that same walk, (she was now awake) and we approached another jackhammer - her eyes buldged and it seemed as though it was in responce to the noise. Earlier today, Brian and myself were on another walk (Yes, we enjoy our walks...I don't know what we are going to do when it starts to snow!) and about to cross the street - when a traffic guard blew his loud whistle 6 times. Of course, I look immediately at Madison to see if I notice anything different - her eyes buldged just as they did with the jackhammer.
Aside from today's experience, I have shared these findings with Jessica and she says these are all very good signs that Madison is getting some input! Not a single day passes when I'm not constantly thinking about the noise in my surroundings... always wondering what it is like for Madison - if she is hearing anything. We have been told to keep thinking positive thoughts, that most deaf people receive some benefit from the HAs. There is a small chance (1%) that she does not have an auditory nerve. In this case, she would not receive any input from HAs (and with this extreme, she would not be a candidate for a cochlear implant). Yes, it is so rare, but than again so is our situation. It is so hard not to keep thinking WHAT IF... We just have to continue taking one day at a time and pray for the best. We are hoping that the HAs are working, giving Madison exposure to some sounds. Even though she is not hearing sounds of speech, her nerve and brain are working to make use of the sounds that are being received. This is priming the nerve/brain for implantation of the cochlear implant. Madison should be going into the sound booth middle/end of October and hopefully the audiologists will be able to confirm that Madison is responding to sounds with her HAs.