Haircuts and hearing loss

14 Oct

Since our baby boy was diagnosed with a severe hearing impairment, I have become an expert on all things audiological.  I have devoured books, watched DVDs, spoken to the National Deaf Children’s Society and drained parents of deaf children of their expertise.  My husband, who has taken the more technological approach, is an expert on the latest developments in stem cell research and the various types of hearing aid.  Who would have thought I barely scraped a C in biology O’level? In seven days, I’m at degree level.

When you need to learn, your brain is like a sponge.  At our pediatrician appointment yesterday, the consultant actually took my husband to be a research scientist and looked astounded when he professed to working in the marketing department of a national newspaper.  In the past, the educational pull outs he has created to increase circulation have been largely based on history and geography – famous battles, Scottish castles, the highest mountains and international flags – but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if readers open their papers to find a poster of the inner ear complete with details of the latest research into cochlear implants at the breakfast table.

If only our children could be encouraged to learn with the same zeal. But no matter how much you try to explain to a 9-year-old that life will be much easier if she memorizes her times tables now, she can’t comprehend a world in which maths (other than that necessary to work out if she has the budget to buy a ‘slushy’ at the gym or the latest Jacqueline Wilson book) is important.   I wish someone had drummed it into me. When I was a child, I gave up maths as soon as possible, veering towards all things arts related – my A levels, my degree, my career in publishing. Then suddenly out of left field, it came back to haunt me. Obviously at a certain level in any career, you’re going to find yourself managing a budget, but even if you don’t work, managing the family budget is the most challenging of all as outgoings escalate and income worryingly stagnates.

Far from encouraging an interest in science, our deaf diagnosis has pretty much passed the girls by. I’m delighted that they don’t share our devastation but it can be difficult to take their more petty concerns seriously in comparison.  As I was at the hospital with the baby all afternoon yesterday, the two grannies had to take the girls to their hair appointment.  I returned, shell-shocked, having discovered the diagnosis was worse than initially feared, to find the girls in tears. I assumed it was empathy. It wasn’t. Their tears were for their long straggly hair which ‘will never ever grow back’.  It will.  The hairs in their baby brother’s inner ear won’t.

Time I think for a basic biology lesson…

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3 Responses to “Haircuts and hearing loss”

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