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Hearing Problem or Just Selective?

(38 Posts)
MummyBurrows Wed 17-Apr-13 22:26:32

I apologise in advance for the long post....But please don't judge.....

I have a 3yo DD due to start school this September. Shes incredibly behind on her speech,always has been. She communicates by taking people where she wants them to go to get her things and by making various incoherent noises and babbling away in gibberish....She can say a few words (bye,hi,I see,you,no,yes,oi,wee,mum,mummy,dad,daddy) and she can just about count to 8 although not all the numbers are clear and say a few letters of the alphabet (b,c,d,e,i,o,p,t,u,v). She has once said bless you (when she was in bed and didn't know I was standing outside her door!) and it came out perfectly clear and there have been another couple if times she has come out with a word or 2 completely out the blue but never repeated them since. She also seems to understand (perhaps not entirely) what people are saying to her going by her reactions and she will sometimes respond to noises but not all the time.

My DD is going for a hearing test next week to see if theres a problem with her ears causing her to be soo behind on her speech and her hit and miss responses to noises of varying volume-perhaps hearing the sounds and words muffled,as if underwater-but I was wondering if anyone has had a similar experience with their DC and what the outcome/explanation was?

I personally think that my DD is being selective and choosing not to talk and choosing to ignore noises and that there's nothing wrong with her hearing/ears or anything that could prevent her from communicating like a "normal" child,although I could of course be in denial and not wanting to believe that there could possibly be anything physically wrong with my beloved DD lol..... My DH,and most of our family members,disagree and think its all down to her ears/hearing as both my little sister and my DHs brother both had problems with speech due to ear/hearing problems that were easily solved and rectified with grommets......but I'm seriously not convinced as it really does sound selective to me going by what the nursery staff have told me when they've tried to test her hearing/reactions to loud noises-first time she will look in the direction of the noise and then any times after that she doesn't-and the fact that WHEN my DD does say something (other than numbers) it's crystal clear and there's no debating or guessing what she's just said!

Please don't judge me or my DD. Just want/need some advice/reassurance off people that have had this same,or similar,problem and perhaps some opinions as to what people think the problem could be? Does it sound more selective to u or does it sound like there is something physically wrong with her? T.I.A xx

Highschoolsweetheart Wed 17-Apr-13 22:36:18

My 3.4 yr old DD is very similar to yours, she has had every test going and they always find nothing (then suggest more test angry ) I have become rather frustrated by this as I'm sure it's just selective hearing And laziness.

I wouldn't worry my DD is In a part time pre school place and some of the children (3 and 4 yr olds) can't even count to 5 or say any of the alphabet, I wouldn't worry at all. When she starts school she will be come much more vocal, and will come on so much she will surprise you.

All my family think my DD is behind in her speech and as I said she has had loads of tests, but yet her teacher at parents evening a few weeks ago said she believes she only hears what she wants otherwise it will be ignored

paddingtonbear1 Wed 17-Apr-13 22:43:21

My dd was similar, nursery thought she was being selective, we assumed she was too as she passed her first hearing test. Towards the end of reception though, she was diagnosed with glue ear and referred for grommets. They weren't a magic cure but did help a lot, so it's worth going for the tests and ruling out any hearing loss.

MummyBurrows Wed 17-Apr-13 22:55:29

That makes me feel slightly better knowing that at least my DD isn't the only one that seems to be selective! I really am convinced that her tests next week will come back a way I hope I'm wrong and that it is a hearing problem that can be fixed just so I've got an explanation coz a lot of the time when I think about it I end up upsetting myself and crying coz I think I must of done something wrong,it must be my fault that she doesn't talk,I must of brought her up wrong for her not to talk....and then I start thinking to the future and worrying that she will get bullied at school for not being able to talk properly and not being unable to understand things properly and she won't be able to tell me it's happening because she won't talk to me or anyone else so she will suffer in silence..... sad don't think being pregnant and hormonal helps much right now....xx

happyfrogger Wed 17-Apr-13 22:58:59

Good luck with the hearing test, OP. My daughter is 1 year old and has a permanent hearing loss and wears hearing aids. So I know a fair bit about hearing loss but not quite in your situation.

Worth saying that babies and children who suffer hearing loss (whether permanent or temporary (like glue ear), mild or more severe) may appear to be selective in their hearing loss - but remember where there is a loss they can be extremely adept at using other sensory cues to fill in the gaps. It may appear to be selective, but it's not necessarily.

It will be hard to second guess the reason for the delay to the speech until you've had the hearing test and any other investigations but this is a great start and you will hopefully know much more following this. Great that you have had family with experience of grommets too.

Please read this thread!

Good luck and let us know how you get on. If it is a hearing loss please feel free to PM me if you would like to!

MummyBurrows Wed 17-Apr-13 23:24:54

Thank u soo much smile I will give that thread a read. It nice to know there are some lovely people I can turn to no matter what the outcome is smile thanks xxx

DeWe Thu 18-Apr-13 09:00:20

Ds has glue ear. Luckily(?) it was picked up very early due to constant ear infections.

But his hearing appears selective. The only difference was when he had grommets in then he didn't have selective hearing.

What ENT said was that children compensate very well. And things like you say "Ds did you hear me?" Well, they can sort of tune themselves into hearing their name then listen. It's the constant listening with background noise, and particularly in groups that they can find difficult.

I've said this before but with my ds he had this cute little habit of wanting to talk to me by being held and he'd keep patting my cheek to face him. I thought this was a rather cute way of making sure he had my full attention-being dc#3 he could find himself not having as much attention as he wanted.
He had grommets at 20 months, and this cute little habit died out-thought he'd grown out of it. About 15 months later he started doing it again, and I didn't think too much of it until we were back at ENT and they'd just confirmed his grommets had fallen out (they last about a year) and he was sitting on my lap, when he asked me a question and did this little trick of his.
ENT consultant pointed out he was turning my face so he could lip read. Never realised that before, but he is very adept at lip reading now (age 5). I don't think I'd have noticed if it hadn't been pointed out to me as it was just "one of his quirks".

MummyBurrows Thu 18-Apr-13 11:33:16

Its amazing how kids work things out and compensate! My dd doesn't appear to do anything that myself or the nursery staff have noticed,just that sometimes she will turn around and look at u or the noise direction and she seems-on face value-to understand what is said to her but perhaps she doesn't but gages things from tone of voice and sound pattern...?? We really can't work it out.... Also she seems to listen to my dh more than me...he's the one that's managed to teach her to count to 8 and managed to get her to say "I love you" once,despite the fact I spent hours everyday for months trying to get her to say it with no results...she also only really tends to listen to me when I'm telling her "no" or to stop doing something naughty,as my tone of voice is obviously different then to when I'm talking normally...but then again my dd is very much a daddy's girl as he let's her get away with everything and get her own way all the time and I'm the stricter one who won't so perhaps that's why she pays more attention to him than me lol xx

willitbe Thu 18-Apr-13 12:07:25

With a conductive hearing loss such as 'glue ear' the hearing can fluctuate, not just from day to day but even hour to hour. So a child who responds to a sound one day may appear to 'ignore' it a day later.

It is hard if there is a lot of fluctuating as the day you go for the hearing test might be a good day or not.

However where there is a speech difficulty it is vital to make sure that the hearing status is known. It is much harder when there is a fluctuating hearing level.

Most of the time mothers instinct is right, so at least you are unlikely to be looking at a severe or permanent hearing loss. But it is possible that there could be a fluctuating hearing loss that might be causing confusion.

I hope you get an answer when you get the hearing test next week.

willitbe Thu 18-Apr-13 12:15:13

Also I wanted to say that responding only once to a loud noise is completely normal ! It is called habituation at it is what makes testing children's behavioural hearing aged under 4 years old very difficult.

Please tell the nursery to not continue to do this vague hearing assessment, as it makes the audiologists job much harder as the child learns to ignore the unusual sound after the first response ! The nursery are not trained to do this.

willitbe Thu 18-Apr-13 12:20:06

As for your daughter responding more to you dh, hearing loss is not flat across all tones necessarily. If you daughter has a high tone hearing loss she would hear you dh's lower voice tones better than yours. So this would very much explain the different reactions rather than it being a relational / behavioural situation.

happyfrogger Thu 18-Apr-13 13:20:54

As per what willitbe said.

A hearing loss wouldn't necessarily be flat across all frequencies and he may struggle with higher frequencies but not lower. This may suggest why he appears selective or appears to listen to Dad - because it's easier.

When you go for hearing tests also mention as many examples as you can of noises around the house, background noises etc that your DD responds to / appears to notice or not.

I'd also recommend looking up the Ling 6 sounds on YouTube. We test these weekly with DD, they are 6 sounds which cover all the frequencies in speech. By testing each you may notice that your DS doesn't respond to 'SSS' and 'SHH' as easily as 'MMM' for example, which suggest that the higher frequencies are harder to hear.

They're pretty quick and easy to test although easier if you are more familiar with them and test them regularly so as you get familiar with his typical responses. But worth looking up.

MoelFammau Fri 19-Apr-13 00:39:07

2yo DD has/had glue ear and possibly a hearing loss under this as well. She actually now has the best hearing she's ever had, after a stinking cold a couple of weeks back. The difference in her now is staggering - she's alert, wanting to talk, to engage - I had no idea just how dreamy and vague DD was until this!

She rarely noticed doors slamming etc. Didn't respond to her name until she was 18mo and even then it was sporadic. Her speech is very behind and hard to understand (though is now improving). A lot of people didn't realise she had hearing loss though because she could lip-read. She appeared focused and bright when sitting in her highchair at the table with family because she was close enough to see our faces and hear some bits of conversation, but further away and she'd drift into dreamland. We couldn't successfully call out to her from another room, even if she was looking for us.

She was constantly being knocked flat by kids running past her because she couldn't locate sound accurately and get out of the way. At her worst (3 weeks ago) she couldn't locate a ringing phone 3ft away. She would look at our mouths rather than our eyes when we spoke to her.

Your daughter maybe does have a hearing problem. It's a complicated thing and sometimes might mean a few frequencies are muted rather than a blanket deafening, so she might appear alert if the frequencies are audible to her. DD heard some sound, no denying it, but it was never an important sense for her. She was very into visual cues - lights, actions etc. Audio just didn't seem to rank as high and she rarely bothered to react unless it was music.

No idea if any of this rings a bell....?

MummyBurrows Fri 19-Apr-13 01:47:09

Never knew in some cases hearing can fluctuate! Guessed it could vary on sound frequency though. My mum has also noticed that my DD is more drawn to men and pays them more attention than females...until now I had actually just thought that she was a massive daddy's girl and loved and adored my dad as much as I do and did as a child,but the more I thought about it I realised that she also preferss to sit and play with my grandad,the only male nursery assistant and my friends dp but will practically ignore me,my mum,my nans,the female nursery staff and my friends so perhaps she does hav trouble with higher frequences...?

The nursery only did it once,2 of the staff involved are specially trained to deal with children with hearing,speech and behavioural problems and it wasn't a big test as such,just making a couple of noises 3 times each from different corners of the room to see if she would react each time and turn but she only did it once for each noise,not each time with the same noise....

My dd absolutely loves music and will happily dance around to it and doesn't appear to be fussed what kind/sound it is just as long as its lively,up tempo and happy sounding (if that makes sense)... Will look up the ling 6 sounds and see if I get anywhere with her responses.

Thank you all for ur input,it really is helping to give me some insight so please feel free to continue writing anything that u think may be relevant or help,god knows google didn't help much,it jus made me over-think everything and become paranoid! smile thanks xxx

adoptmama Fri 19-Apr-13 04:51:15

Glue ear here too. Huge improvement not in hearing and speech after surgery. Very significant speech delays and communicated by gesture, body language etc before. Lots of sounds she could hear - like me whispering in her ear - because it is a high frequency sound. In places - inside and out - with a lot of back ground noise her hearing was far worse. Also much worse if she had a cold. Had no interest in being read stories, watching dvds - used to think she had attention span of a gnat. Now realise she couldn't hear it!

Good luck.

MummyBurrows Fri 19-Apr-13 14:10:18

I did think glue ear for a while but isn't that something a dr can see or detect if they look inside the ear? My DD has had her ears looked at lots of times at the gp surgery and they've never said anything so I assumed she didn't have it....She's only ever had 1 mild ear infection too so can't be any damage done from that...

She loves having stories read to her although she much prefers to look at the pictures and she will sit and watch dvds,not always all the way through though but she is only 3 and a bit of a fidget like her daddy lol!xx

willitbe Fri 19-Apr-13 15:06:49

Gp's are not great at looking in ears, unless there is raging infection, they will often miss the signs of glue ear. I personally would really only trust an ENT consultant to see glue ear reliably! An audiologist will use tympanometry to test for it when they test the hearing next week. But this will only show what the situation is on that day, it could be a good day and not show the full extent of a hearing problem necessarily.

The audiologist will probably also do a test called OAE, but as there is possibly a problem with high rather than low tones, do make sure they do some behavioural testing of the high frequencies too.

I hope you get answers while you are there.

MummyBurrows Fri 19-Apr-13 22:40:55

Thank you very much smile I'm going to explain everything I can and think is important before they start the test so they can hopefully test her fully rather than perhaps a few basic sounds....I don't really know how it all works but I'm sure me telling them my thoughts may be of some help to them,after all I know her better than anyone and how she acts/reacts and us mummies do have that mothers instinct where we just "know" things....I will of course let everyone now how we get on but any further thoughts/advice between now and Wednesday will be greatly received smile

Also can anyone tell me what I can expect to happen at her hearing test? I really am clueless blush xx

impty Fri 19-Apr-13 22:55:33

The test hearing will be a various sounds played and usually add a block to a tower, person in a boat etc etc like a game. In a sound proof room but I've always been in the room.
Just wanted to say that, first I hope all goes well!smile If you do find there is a temporary or permanent problem please don't worry. There is lots of support for you and your child. NDCS etc but I've found care within the NHS to be excellent.
I have a 15 yo dd who wears hearing aids, Its been fine getting the diagnosis was the hardest part. No gp would get her tested. From the age of 3 she's worn aids and is now an articulate, confident bright teen!
Hopefully you'll get the test results you want. .. but if you don't it will still be fine.

adoptmama Sat 20-Apr-13 07:48:26

DD was tested for glue ear with tympanometry. They basically send an echo down the ear and look for the bounce back. If the test flat lines there is no bounce and the middle ear is blocked = glue ear. Doctors can't see glue ear as the blockage is behind the tympanic membrane (ear drum).

FrustratedSycamoresRocks Sat 20-Apr-13 08:19:56

mummyb if your dd has a hearing loss, and depending on the frequency that has the loss, it is possible that your dd can hear and respond to music, and to male voices, but not to other sounds.

The tests that Audiology do will be very thorough.

HorryIsUpduffed Sat 20-Apr-13 18:37:45

Some excellent advice above.

I will just add that I have recently been diagnosed with auditory processing disorder. I score quite well on audiology tone tests but struggle with speech sounds far more than the frequency pattern would suggest.

My "deafness" is variable too, depending on eg tiredness, and, I dunno, the way the wind blows. APD is to do with how the brain processes the sounds it receives, rather than how the ear transmits the sounds, IYSWIM.

If you aren't satisfied with the answers you get from audiology/ENT in the first instance (unlikely given the many posts before mine) you could ask if the speech sounds test could be tried instead.

awwwwmannnn Sun 21-Apr-13 21:40:51

a shameless bump here....

OP your post could so well have been written about my 2.4yr old DD.
i've been back and fore the doctors countless times, last time they checked her ears and said her ear drums were "dull" suggesting some fluid build up, gave her a decongestant which cleared her ears, 3 weeks on we're certainly not moving forward!!

she has a speech assessment on Friday with her HV which i hope will get the ball rolling if help is needed. what i have noticed with my DD is that i am pretty sure its not ears that a problem with speech delay but her adenoids! she has had tonsillitis 5 times in 6 months and is unable to breath through her nose and snores like a 60stone drunk man lol

i have mentioned this to the doctor but it seems to be of no consequence...i am giving it a month and if nothing changes then i am taking her back and DEMANDING for her to be referred to an ENT to get some answers.

in the meantime, we have an appointment with a cranial ostepath on Saturday morning as from research i have read and talked with other mums who have had this treatment with their DC with marvelous results. i'm not saying its going to be a miracle cure or will work, but at this point i am willing to do anything and everything i can possibly can to help my daughter talk and be more comfortable etc xxx

MummyBurrows Sun 21-Apr-13 23:44:26

Wow! Thank you all for the responses and advice you've given me! Soo much help! Now just have to wait and see what tests they do and what the results are! For me wednesday can't come quick enough,I just want to know if my little girl has a hearing problem or not now and what can or can't be done to help her one way or the other. It soo comforting to know that whatever happens I'm not alone.

awwwwmannnn I feel so sorry for you,and more so your dd,tonsillitis 5times in 6months is horrendous! Can't understand why the drs don't really seem bothered by this?! Surely they would at least suggest having them removed! If she can't breathe normally through her nose and keeps getting tonsillitis then I would naturally assume its going to impact on her speech,she must be afraid to make a sound in fear of it hurting her throat (although I doubt she's anything but quiet at her age lol). I really hope you get the ball rolling for some answers on friday and saturday,please let me know what they say smile

Thank you all again so,so much thanks I will keep checking back for any new posts of advice and/or help and I will of course let you all know how we get on wednesday smile xxx

adoptmama Mon 22-Apr-13 04:44:44

if she can't breathe normally thru her nose awwwwmannnn then it could well be affecting her speech. DD has just had nasal adenoid blockage removed and ear tubes fitted. Absolutely unbelievable improvement in speech already. Keep fighting!

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