Hello all, parent of a toddler

Hi all, I have a bunch of questions for you all, I hope you can help and thanks in advance. My wife and I have a 3 year old with sensorineural hearing loss, mild 80% hearing in her right ear and moderate 50% in her left ear. We have no idea how this occurred, she passed her newborn screening and another screening at 18 months due to a speech delay. She was diagnosed with hearing loss back in August and has worn her hearing aids since the beginning of September, she wears them routinely throughout the day. She has a phonak sky Q presently and attends a learning private school. Developmentally she is on par with 1st graders, minus her conversational speech. I am a teacher in San Antonio, Texas so I get a chance to interact and see kids from all across the spectrum. Here are my questions thank in advance

  1. My biggest concern is that she routinely seems to ask “what” routinely for clarification, we have been to the audiologist four times now and she’s had them corrected once now. We are suppose to head back in next week. Is there something I should be asking or is this common?i Should we keep on tweeking it until the problem disappears?

  2. She complains that her ears are cold, has anyone else heard of this?

  3. Her hearing seems to have gotten worse without her hearing aids in or am I just being to analytical as her mind is getting adjusted to hearing with the amplifier? Like glasses

  4. How long of an adjustment period is there? Some days my wife and I think that she is really getting adjusted and then other days it seems as if there is very little consistency.

Thanks in advance

First, I need to start with a disclaimer. I am not an audiologist or hearing specialist. I am a hearing aid user and I will try to adapt some of the things that we know about adults who wear hearing aids to what may be happening in an adolescent’s world.

  1. She says “what” a lot. Adults who have hearing a disability will become accustomed to using a word such as “what” to get people to repeat what they did not hear. Being hearing impaired means you have to really concentrate to hear what is being said correctly. Once the hearing loss is corrected, the use of these words are habits and they are hard to break. It also gives the hearing impaired person a second or two to process what they have heard and make sure that what they have heard is consistent with the current ongoing conversation. When you are hearing impaired you hear a lot of interesting comments, some which do not make any sense in the context of the conversation. We stall while we analyze what we have heard and make sure it is aligned with the conversation and if it isn’t then try a different intrepretation of what we think we heard, one that fits better within the context of the conversation.
  2. I don’t have a good reason for this. It may be that the hearing instruments don’t feel normal and in her limited experiences the best description that she knows is her ears feel cold. Only a guess.
  3. The brain is powerful. It gets used to interpreting sounds that are not “normal” because of the hearing loss. It takes awhile to adapt to the improved hearing with aids. Once the brain gets it figured out, then it is harder to interpret sounds that are “distorted” by the hearing loss when you are not wearing hearing instruments.
  4. The adjustment period is typically a couple of weeks up to a couple of months for adults.

Please remember that hearing aids do not cure the hearing loss. They are an adaptation and as such a hearing impaired person’s hearing is improved, but it is not normal. We will miss sounds that a person with normal hearing has no problem in hearing. We work harder to hear. Hearing impaired individuals will use even more brain power trying to interpret conversations accurately. Some people are easy to follow in a conversation, others are very challenging due to speech patterns, speed, frequency of the voice. Some hearing aid users retain their sense of direction in relationship to where the sound is coming from. Many of us will hear the sound but have no clue as to direction. To complicate this, your daughter is 3 years old. Three year old children like to tease adults by ignoring them, and by not following instructions in order to get attention, etc. That complicates determining how well she is doing in terms of the hearing aids improving her hearing. She is a normal three year old and this will just make your job a little more difficult in determining how well she is/isn’t hearing.

Her developmental level equivalent to first graders reflects her abilities and yours. I think you are doing a great job from the limited information that I have in this post. Keep working with her and her conversational skills should improve rapidly now that she is hearing conversations without the distortions caused by the hearing loss.

cold ears may mean infection. I would check her temperature.

Is she seeing a speech therapist? I think that might be the person to determine if she’s saying “what?” when she’s missing particular sounds, such as “s” or “f” sounds.

Have you seen an ENT? It may also refer you to a neurologist?

IMHO, this kind of question is way beyond the scope of this forum.

I agree with Doc Jake on this one.

The op got some good info and advice in this thread.

There are also some good resources out there for parents of little children with hearing loss.

Here’s one:


Hope it helps. Good luck!

Before we get our hearing aids, we put a lot of energy into just trying to hear and decipher what we’re hearing. This can lead to a reduction in ability to actually understand what we’re hearing, because we’ve already exhausted ourselves just trying to hear it. There’s not enough energy left for comprehension.

Once we get our aids, we can relax a little. Hearing becomes a little more effortless, and we can now concentrate on what’s actually being said to us.

So now, we are no longer accustomed to putting that much energy into hearing. Thus, once the aids come out, we are startled back in to that world of muffled sounds. We’ve become a little more complacent in our hearing, so it wouldn’t surprise me if the hearing seems worse.

I know when I take my aids out, I have this sensation that a pillow has just been wrapped around my head. If my wife needs to talk to me once I’ve taken them out, I have to sit directly in front of her, about a foot away, to be able to listen. I know it wasn’t quite that bad before the aids.

  1. How long of an adjustment period is there? Some days my wife and I think that she is really getting adjusted and then other days it seems as if there is very little consistency.

Typically 30 - 60 days. But I have no idea if that’s different for children. Also, hearing aids are not really comparable to glasses. When you put glasses on, you instantly see better, there’s nothing to get used to. Hearing aids require “brain training,” and usually numerous adjustments to get them right.

Having said all that, please bear in mind that very few participants in this forum are actually experts. I myself knew absolutely nothing about hearing aids until about 6 months ago. We are just a bunch of hearing aid users sharing our experiences and comparing notes from what we’ve learned on the internet. Since you are talking about a three year old, I would strongly suggest you seek out more professional advice. And from more than one provider.