After the Berkeley Low Vision Clinic appointment, we spent several days with the Denizons of Chaos (I'll write more about that next time), then drove to Palo Alto for an audiology appointment. Queen Teen was resigned to it, and happily distracted by three energetic girls, one loud boy and a giant house to explore. Once we reached our hotel room in Mountain View, her mood quickly changed. The sparkle in her eyes vanished, replaced by a nervous scowl. The hotel was nice (thank you Hotels.com) and we had cable TV, something we don't get at home, but nothing could negate the misery she felt thinking about the next day: audiology.
Of all the appointments she has, from neurology to dentistry to genetics to orthopedics, audiology is the worst. She likes the doctor fine, but the tedium of the tests and the reality that she does indeed need hearing aids ("No I don't," she insists, even after the hearing exam clearly shows she can't hear a blessed thing.) depresses her more than her best friend moving away.
She did her best during the test, and I told her how proud I was of her. Dutifully she put the block in the box when she heard the tone, but she also put a block in after guessing the interval between testing tones. The doctor mixed up the timing to avoid that, so it was obvious Queen Teen barely heard anything. And during the vocabulary test she got frustrated when she couldn't identify what any of the words were. I made sure she could see the pictures, and she identified them by looking, but when asked to point to the "baseball" or "ice cream", she just looked at me and said, "I can't find it."
Queen Teen is a candidate for Cochlear Implants, but there's a lot to think about before we go that route, primarily, Queen Teen's mental health. She refuses to wear hearing aids and denies that she can't hear. She cries at appointments and has a panic attack before we leave the car. If I can't get her to a dentist to have her teeth cleaned without her freaking out, how the hell will she tolerate major surgery and implants? We're concerned that she's losing language processing ability because that part of her brain is no longer being activated; hearing aids can help with that.
Before we left, the doctor took an impression of Queen Teen's ears for new ear molds to go with her new hearing aids. That's when Queen Teen started to cry, and she even tried to hit the doctor. I soothed her the best I could, then the doctor quickly made the impressions and we were out of there. We had planned to stop and visit another friend, but we were both worn out so we decided to get a head start before rush hour traffic began. That's the only plus to Queen Teen's hearing decreasing so much: the hearing tests take a lot less time.