Signia previously shared our interview with Lana, a teen who is proud to embrace her hearing aids. In honor of Mother’s Day, Lana’s mom Riina Stengert tells her story of parenting a child with hearing loss and the joy of knowing her daughter can hear her once again.
We don’t really know the cause of Lana’s hearing loss. Basically, when she was five, we noticed she snored very loudly and took her to an ENT. She was found to have middle ear effusion (or fluid buildup in the middle ear), so the doctor inserted grommet tubes. The tubes eventually just fell out naturally and everything was fine.
Just to be 100 percent sure that everything was okay, we had Lana take a hearing test every year. From ages five to seven, everything was normal. When she was eight, we had our annual checkup and the audiologist said that we might want to take a closer look at her hearing. Although Lana didn’t need hearing aids at that time, her hearing wasn’t 100 percent. Neither Lana nor her teachers complained about it, so we just left it as is.
Fast-forward two years. When Lana was 10, she approached me and said we need to do a hearing test again, since she couldn’t hear her teachers and friends that well anymore. We also noticed that she didn’t really participate in dinner conversations. At the time, we just assumed it was a “phase” and that she didn’t want to talk to her parents.
After a hearing test, it became clear: Lana’s hearing had worsened and she needed hearing aids for her moderate hearing loss. As for the cause? The ENT and audiologist said they could run a couple of tests to possibly find a cause, but we all agreed it wasn’t necessary. No matter the cause, her hearing wouldn’t improve. So, we never tried to find it.
Lana’s life has changed dramatically since getting hearing aids. I never realized how much hearing aids could help! She wasn’t an introverted, shy, and quiet child — she just couldn’t hear well.
Today, Lana is a much happier person and so outgoing. She started laughing again and understands jokes at the dinner table. Her grades went up. She’s a completely different person. She’s outgoing, works out, goes kickboxing, is super healthy, and she believes in helping people, animals, and the environment (and she’s been a vegan since last year). She loves watching Netflix and YouTube with her Bluetooth® hearing aids. In her words, “I can even listen to music during class without anyone realizing it!”
We now know Lana’s “bad mood” was just her hearing loss. And fortunately, her twin brother Leo no longer has to scream at her just to get her attention. It made me crazy, but maybe he already knew Lana couldn’t hear well long before I did.
And a short story just became too long. I guess I’m one of those moms who can’t stop. I’m just so proud of her!