Speech Development (Part 2)

Roughly 3 minutes to read

This is a follow up to a previous article

So! It wasn’t me!

I probably shouldn’t be happy about this, but knowing that by teaching my daughter sign language I haven’t actually set her back on normal speech development is a significant weight off my shoulders.

Instead, through some more testing with the fantastic folks at the child hearing clinic near here, we’ve established that she’s hearing everything about 2-3 times more quiet than normal, and that the problem seems to be continued ‘glue ear’ in her middle ear. When she was tested with a bone conduction speaker (and thus, one that avoids exciting the middle ear, but shortcuts directly via the bones in her head) it turned out that her hearing was totally normal, just nothing was getting through because of a middle ear blockage.

So this leads on to ‘what next?’ for this particular saga; naturally I don’t want her to slowly get behind with speech development as right now she’s propping herself up with the rest of her age group through just being a smart cookie, but that won’t last forever - but the only options right now are either (minor) surgery or having a hearing aid (amplification type, no surgery).

The NICE[1] guidelines for the type of surgery that would be required now stipulate that the operation should only normally be done twice over the course of an individuals lifetime, to minimise the scar tissue involved becoming more of a problem, and with my daughter being quite small still (she’s only three!) there’s a good chance that the operation will need to be repeated at a later stage to re-apply the fix pretty soon after the first one fails. So instead of surgery, we’re going down the hearing aid route.

As a computer scientist this is deeply interesting to me as well; the miniaturisation of these devices has been fantastic of late, what with all the battery technology advances, but as a resident of the UK, I do now need to arrange for these to be sorted for her through… The NHS[2]

For all its facets, good and bad, the NHS has generally done me and my family pretty well so far; but this is a whole new game with multiple disconnected departments talking to one another via snail mail right in the middle of the largest industrial action seen in recent times[3]. I have all the sympathy for the plight of junior doctors but at the same time I’m not relishing the prospect of navigating the complexities of the NHS.

Wish us luck!

  1. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines ↩︎

  2. The National Health Service (NHS) ↩︎

  3. “Junior doctors in England to strike for three days in June” - BBC News ↩︎