Adoption, Medical Issues

All About Single-Sided Deafness

All About Single-Sided Deafness

All About Single-Sided Deafness

Here is the info All About Single-Sided Deafness. According to Healthy Hearing, Single-Sided Deafness is “Living in the head shadow of singlesided deafness. …Singlesided deafness (SSD) is a condition in which a person has lost hearing in one ear, while he or she may have anywhere from normal hearing to profound hearing loss in the other.”

A Small Familiarity

This is something that I have grown up with but never really understood. As you discuss it more, you find out that more people have hearing loss or are completely deaf in one ear. They have just learned to deal with it throughout their lives. Keep on reading from my “blonde” moment regarding my slight familiarity.

Bringing J Home

We met our child when he was 4. In our adoption journey, we flew to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and met this sweet child. It was love at first sight. There was, of course, a huge language barrier. He spoke the native language, Wolayita. Also, he was learning Amharic (the native language of most of Ethiopia). As a bonus, this teacher was teaching the kids in English.

We were in such a fog of the information overload we were experiencing that we didn’t notice much else. Our child was a typical 4 yr old child. Busy, opinionated, hungry, loving, affectionate, and full of smiles.

Fast Forward 2 Years Later

It was this child’s 6th birthday. Per tradition, my mom called to sing to him. He flew upstairs to talk to Jojo. I put the phone up to the right ear. He looked at me and said: “I no hear in that ear.” I must have just looked like I had swallowed a bug because my mouth was open, and I suddenly could not comprehend broken English.

He moved the phone to the left ear and smiled as she sang to him. I took the phone back and told my mom what he had said. We discussed it for a minute, and she told me that I needed to do more investigation. She asked if I remembered her surgery on her ear. I did remember, but I never knew what it was, so she explained it all to me again.

Our Conversation

Me: What do you mean you cannot hear in that ear?

Child: I can’t hear out of that ear.

Me: But what do you mean? Could you hear in Ethiopia?

Child: I no hear in Et-opia.

Me: I don’t understand what you are saying.

Child: Put both of this child’s hands on my cheeks and brought my face closer to this child’s face, and he spoke slowly. Mom. I. No. Hear. In. That. Ear.

Then he casually walked away.

Over the Course of the Day

I would sneak up on him and try to whisper in this child’s ear to catch the “deafness.” Seriously, I had no idea what SSD was. I started making phone calls. We got a hearing test done with my friend Susan Brown at Murray State.

She confirmed that he was deaf in one ear, but we needed a referral to see the extent of that. We took her results and gave them to our pediatrician (who said this child’s ears were perfectly healthy and fine). I insisted on a referral to Dr. Shawn Jones, and they did that for me, though they didn’t think it was necessary.

Seeing Dr. Jones

We introduced J to the Indiana Jones movies. He was obsessed. He had the bag, hat, and whip to prove his devotion to this character. As I tried to explain to him where we were going and what the dr was going to do, I failed to mention the name of the dr. When we walked into the clinic, I told him we would see Dr. Jones soon.

Our child’s eyes were wide, and the mouth dropped. He looked at me and said: “Dr. Jones?!” Me: “Yep, you are seeing Dr. Jones today.” Child: “As in Indian Jones??!!” Me: “Uhm, no. As in. Dr. Shawn Jones.” Our child was deflated.

Our Appointment

Now, Dr. Jones and I have gone way back. He has done tube surgeries on a couple of kids and taken my tonsils out. We know each other. He is a believer, his wife is a homeschooler, and he loves to challenge and relate to each kid/person that walks into his clinic.

We giggled over J’s mistaken identity moment a few moments earlier. Then, I went on to talk about this child’s medical history (we pretty much knew nothing). I told him what Susan had said. Also, the pediatrician thought he was fine, and it was more of a selective hearing loss (aka, he is a kid).

What We Learned

We learned that you could be deaf from your outer ear to your inner ear OR from your inner ear to your brain. It is not quite as common to be deaf from your outer ear to your inner. When Dr. Jones looked into this child’s ear, he found that everything was as it should be. Nothing was missing; all bones were intact, so that is good.

He sent us to Kelli, who did another hearing test. This time, she covered her mouth as she spoke to him. That was the key. He could read lips perfectly! That is why the pediatrician thought he was fine. He had become an expert at it.

The Results Were In

When all the tests were done, we discovered that he is NOT slightly or even moderately deaf in that right ear. He is entirely, profoundly deaf from the outer ear to the brain. Although mechanically, everything is fine, he is a sonic boom type of deaf. Deaf deaf. They were so surprised that this child’s speech was so good. That at one point, he was trilingual. He had learned to compensate so well that he surprised everyone.

We Had Choices

First, we could leave it alone and let it be. Second, we could get cross hearing aids to magnify the sound in the good ear. Third, we could be the first in our region to get a magnetic BAHA hearing aid.

The cross hearing aids did not work at all. It is designed to have two hearing aids. The one in the bad ear takes the noises and slings them to the hearing aid in the good ear. Once there, it magnifies it and makes things louder. Yep, that didn’t work at all. Plus, they could not get wet. Also, he couldn’t get sweat on them. He was in sports, so he never wore them. When he did, it just irritated him.

The BAHA hearing aid can be better explained by the company we used, Sophono. There is the snap-on hearing aid, which most people get. The magnetic one was newer when we started this process. This device helped take out the maintenance of the abutment device.

What We Decided

We would leave it alone, but as he got older, we noticed more things. This child’s deafness started becoming more noticeable (or maybe we were more aware). He was still unfamiliar with life in the states, so he often darted wherever and whenever. He was in a walled area in Ethiopia, so he had freedom without fear. Here, he could very quickly get hit by a car. He often ran across the street to get a ball or see a dog.

After trying the first two less invasive options, we chose to do the BAHA. He can wear it in the rain, and he can sweat! It is rechargeable, so it removes the need to buy batteries constantly. He can do it all alone, a vast difference from the cros hearing aides.


As this child gets older, the magnetic will never need changing/replacing. He cannot have MRIs or go through metal detectors. This child’s hearing aid does not need to be replaced unless broken. We get yearly maintenance on it.

He picks and chooses when he wears it. I don’t push it. We have learned he does not like wearing it while eating (he chews too loudly) and also during worship time at church (too loud). I let him dictate when he wears it and when he doesn’t. Now, when school starts, he will have to wear it.

Alright, Alright…Here is My Moment

This is the conversation that Dr. Jones and I had while discussing J’s medical history.

Me: Can SSD be hereditary?

Dr. J: Sometimes, why do you ask?

Me: My mom was born without a bone in her ear. She was deaf on one side. She got some surgery where they put a metal plate in her ear. It bounces sound off, and now she can hear. I remember when she got it. She was sleeping in her room with the door shut. The rest of us were in the kitchen eating sandwiches. She came flying into the kitchen, crying, telling us to stop chewing loudly. Could J be missing that same bone?

Dr. J (and his nurse): Staring at me like I had a third eyeball.

Me: If this child is missing that bone, can he pass that on to biological kids? Is this a generational thing?

Crickets chirping

After a moment of silence and Dr. J continuing to let me babble on…

Dr. J: “Brandi, is your mom black?”

Me: Uhm, no…you have met her. She is a short, fiery redhead. Why?

Dr. J: Brandi, your son is black.

Me: Yep, I know that.

Moment to let me absorb his question and my answer.

Dr. J: Bursts out laughing, as does his nurse.

Me: Realizing what I just asked. Oh, well, I feel stupid.

Dr. J: You don’t distinguish between your bio and adopted kids. To answer your question, I don’t think your American mom’s ear has anything to do with your Ethiopian son’s hearing loss.





Falsehoods and Truth of Adoption

Falsehoods and Truth of Adoption

Falsehoods and Truth of Adoption.

Let me start off by saying that ADOPTION is a beautiful thing!  It has been a desire of mine since I was a child and the Lord saw fit to bring this desire to fruition.  Yet there are some Falsehoods and the Truth of Adoption.

There are several things that people do not tell you about adoption that I wish I had known, way back when…but it still would not have turned me against adding to my family through our domestic and international adoption.  I just believe that I would have been better prepared.

You will automatically love this child.

I wish this were true but there are times when that connection is just not there and love is a CHOICE and not a FEELING.  There are times when adoptive mamas go through post-adoption depression just like mamas who give birth can struggle with postpartum depression.  It is tough.  If you feel like you are struggling or want to sleep all the time.  Maybe your emotions are all over the place or you are struggling with loving this child.  Please, seek help.  There is no shame in talking to a doctor or a therapist.  There is no shame if you need medication to get through this emotional hump.  You are still a good mama.  Relax.  Breathe.  Trust the Lord.  Ask for help.

It will be an easy transition into your family.

Any adoptive parent will tell you that this is a lie lie lie.  I will say that it was much easier with Little Man than it was with Gigi and Catfish.  There is a honeymoon period.  It can last for days (or hours) or months.  When it is over, it is over….that is when real bonding begins.

You have to be rich to adopt.

With the help of friends, family, yard sales, craft shows, and grants….you can adopt.  You do not have to be rich.  In the case of foster care adoption, there is no cost to adopt a child from the foster system and the need is great!

You will love this child(ren) differently because this child “did not come from your body.

Again, it does not take birthing a baby to be a mom.  It takes the next lifetime to be a mom.  I love ALL of my kids DIFFERENTLY.  It is a fact that I do not love them the same.  Yet, I do not love one more than another.  I just love them differently whether they are grown under the heart or in it.

It is easy to adopt

BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…..uhm….no.  International, domestic, private, family, foster care….adoption is A LOT of hard work.  A lot of dedication, a lot of paperwork, a lot of tears, and a lot of emotions.  Those who tell you differently are on medication.

All children in foster care have some kind of physical, mental, or emotional handicap; that’s why they are classified as “special needs.”

Special needs can include several different types of kids.  Children who are of a different race are special needs.  Children over 3 are special needs.  Sibling groups are special needs.  Boys can be considered special needs just because they are boys.  There can be mental or physical needs, as well….but my son, adopted at the age of 4 was special needs because he was black, a boy, and over the age of 2.  He is perfectly fine.  My other 2 children are considered special needs because they are a sibling group.  There are additional needs from those 2 kids, but far, they are just fine.

Natural parents do not care about the babies they surrender to adoption

My son’s mother loves him.  My children’s mother loves them.  They love in their own way.  They were relinquished for different reasons.  Both moms wanted a better life for their children.

The infant does not experience her separation from her mother

There are implicit memories (from birth to 3) and explicit memories (from 3 on).  Whether a child can verbalize or physically remember or not, they will always have those memories.  That loss and grief will always be there.  Regardless of age.

The adoptive family will be the only family the adoptive child will know

Uhm, again…no….These kids will always wonder where they came from and what their story was.  Do all you can to find out for their benefit…even the hard stuff.

Your identity is tied to the adoptive family and not your past

An adoptive child’s identity is founded on their heritage and their past.  They adapt and learn new ways, but their past is a huge part of who they are.

Adoptive families make up for a child’s loss

Again, that loss and grief will always be present.  It should be talked about and openness needs to be encouraged.  A child should never be afraid to talk to a parent about their hurts, fears, and confusion.  It does not mean they do not love you.  They just want to know.

The adoptive child never thinks about their biological family

Yes, they do…all the time.  They just very well may be afraid to verbalize for fear of hurting their adoptive parents.

You should sugarcoat the truth to make it easier on the adopted child

Nope.  This information should be sought after if you can.  It should be delivered in 100% truth as the child can understand and their complete past, what you know, should be completely told to a child by the age of 12.

Adoption damages a child

I don’t believe it does.  My children, though here for different circumstances by their biological families, know they are loved and they are safe.  They also know that their families loved them the only way that they could.

Adoption means waiting years for a child

I was waiting for a year for 2 of my children.  It took 2 years for my other child.  It all depends on what you are open to.  The more open you are to a child of God, the sooner it could be a reality.  If you are tied down to a newborn, blonde hair, blue-eyed little girl…your wait time will be longer.

Children must be placed with same-race families in order to thrive

We are a trans-racial family.  Our family tries to keep his heritage alive by listening to music, reading books, and having pictures, and things from his country.  Also, we try to get together with fellow adoptive families from Ethiopia.  We do the best we can knowing full well that we can never replace a first-hand experience he would have had had he stayed with his biological family.

Single people or people over 40 cannot adopt

Not true and not true 🙂  Age does not matter.  I say if the Lord is calling you…be obedient.  You won’t be sorry.

James 1:27  Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

Matthew 18:5 “And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to ask and I will address them.