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Unanswered Questions

I get the phone call from Kaiser. It was the audiologist reminding me that we need to follow-up with Mila’s hearing. That was it. There was no explanation of any sort~ just show up with the baby.

I thought it would be a simple and short visit.

I was wrong.

“The baby has to be asleep,” the audiologist said.
Baffled. “The baby has to be asleep?” I wonder. The baby just woke up from a nap.
I asked, “Why?”
She explained, “So the computer can read only her brainwaves.”
This just isn’t making any sense. Say what? Even though I have a hearing loss, I haven’t a clue how they screen for hearing loss, let alone on a baby who can’t tell an audiologist whether or not she “heard” a sound in the sound booth.

Ok. “I’ll have to nurse her and maybe she’ll go back to sleep,” I tell her in a hopeless tone. It is my understanding that most babies fall asleep after nursing. Mine doesn’t. She lets me know that she’ll be back in 10 minutes. I’m left alone, sitting on the straightest back chair ever, extremely high armrests, and so little cushioning. I’m supposed to nurse my daughter in this kind of unfriendly environment? I do. Mila does fall asleep. The audiologist comes back in. Then she starts pulling out wires~ though friendly, but not explaining to me what she’s doing. I mean, wires here, wires there all coming from different directions. “They had wires attached to your head…” mama tells me when doctors were trying to figure out whether or not I had a hearing loss as well. I can’t help but wonder how my mother felt when she saw all these wires on her daughter’s head. Anyhow, she take wipes that is rubbing alcohol and rubs it pretty roughly on my sleeping daughter’s forehead and behind her ears. She tells me that it cleans the area that will be taped. I’m surprised that the baby didn’t wake up.

She puts the wires that has very small sponge at the end in each of Mila’s ear. And tapes several wires on the forehead. All the while, still not explaining to me what the purpose of each movement is. This is what Mila looks like after being connected to the wires.


After putting all the wires on the baby, the audiologist went back to the computer.  It’s still semi-dark.  There’s a blue hue on her face from the computer.  Silence.  Nothing.  She has all kinds of facial expressions~ none I can quite figure out.   There are a lot of little details, so I’m going to get straight to the end of this appointment.  By the time she started testing Mila’s right ear, there was such a look of worry on her face, Mila woke up.  I tried and tried to get her to go back to sleep.  No luck.  Tension is high for me.  She tells me two things:  One,  from what’s she’s gathered thus far, even though the test is not finished, Mila’s right ear is not picking up on any sound.  Two, testing often takes more than one tries.

I tried to get more information.

I asked,  “Let’s say, hypothetically, that Mila has severe to profound hearing loss, what happens next?”  She explains that she doesn’t want to make any conclusions until she has completed the test thoroughly.  That makes sense.  But, I was finding it really hard to leave without more answers, especially because I was told so little during the whole testing.  I mean, I just sat in the dark, watching her expression and hoping that the baby wouldn’t wake up.  This all happened in a span of two hours (I think).

I left with so little information.  Not a very comfortable feeling for a mother.


About Amy Pogrebin Bremenstuhl

Life is noisy~ in a messy way. I thought I'd try writing about surviving the hearing world every day for 365 Days.

4 responses »

  1. Do you go back for more testing? Oy! My heart goes out to you!!!!


  2. Oh Amy…I am so sorry, I have been there. And the ridiculous test where they are supposed to be asleep…are you kidding me? Grant never fell asleep during our first appt and we were there for hours. For his second appt, I stayed home with his two older brothers and sent Grandma and Grandpa to try and get him to sleep. I just couldn’t handle it, I could not relax. Relaxing just so rarely happens in my house full of young children and I felt strangely guilty being with the youngest one and doing absolutely nothing…not being “productive.” Though he did fall asleep for his second appt, there was still nothing conclusive about his condition. The extent of his hearing loss wasn’t substantiated until he had tubes placed in his ear drums, he was under anesthesia and the audiologists could do the extensive testing that needed to be done. I sincerely hope that Mila has a better outcome than Grant’s was. However if she does have hearing loss you know that she will be OK, that she is entirely capable of having a fantastic and full life…look at you! And you know that you both have tons of support in the deaf/HOH community!


    • Amy Pogrebin Bremenstuhl

      Oh Amy, thanks for sharing your story! Although I have a hearing loss, it’s an entirely different story being on the other side of the coin. I can totally understand why you had the grandparents take Grant…my mom and husband would have gladly taken Mila but, I’m the only one who can get her to stop crying. And, then my husband helps me emotionally. Whew!



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