Ellie had another hearing test done at Shawnee Park yesterday. This test showed improved hearing responses! Jack (the audiologist) said that he was seeing responses from Ellie without hearing aids for frequencies that he hadn't been able to get responses to before. He said it looked like she could hear at about 85 decibels (which would be a 10 dB improvement from before).
When she was wearing hearing aids, she was very vocal, so it was a bit more difficult for Jack to test her...but he said she looked like she responded to his voice around 35 dB. This is a jump up from the 45-50 dB level that he found last month. We're very excited about this improvement! On the one hand, we hope that it will continue to improve....but on the other hand, if she does continue to improve, it might take her out of candidacy for a cochlear implant when she turns 1. Jack told me yesterday that an infant with "profound" hearing loss can get an implant at 12 months, but a baby with "severe to profound" hearing loss may have to wait until they are 24 months. Right now Ellie is still in the "profound" category, but if she continues to improve with the test results, she may have to wait awhile.
So you can see, we're kind of tugged in a few different directions...We would love her hearing test results to continue to improve so that she wouldn't ever need a cochlear implant. BUT we don't want to wait a whole year if she will still need it when she's 2...that would be a lot of language development time lost. Another direction we have been exploring is stem cell treatment. A couple of weeks ago, I was just online researching different things and I came across someone's blog about stem cell treatment for hearing loss. It is still in the experimental stage, but I do think that sometime down the road, they will be able to improve hearing by using stem cells. There are no guarantees as to when this may come out, but it got us thinking about some different options. The catch is that once someone is implanted, their residual hearing would be gone, so stem cell treatment may not work. (Again, this is all online research, so I know I probably don't have all the facts straight....please, if you know anything more about this, let me know!) So we were talking about maybe implanting just 1 ear and waiting for stem cells for the other ear, but we kind of feel that we should do what is best for Ellie right now....which would be bilateral (both ears) cochlear implants. So those are the different directions we feel pulled toward...lots to think and pray about!
Ellie is a busy girl...she is pulling herself up on everything now (and getting into everything she's not supposed to!) :) She is always so happy...I couldn't have asked for a better baby! Here are some new pictures!She like to crawl through tiny spaces!
Ellie's cousin, Jada