Finding out your child has hearing loss can be a scary and overwhelming experience, especially for those whom don’t know anyone else with hearing loss.
After giving birth to triplets, Shanquail Horton Archibald learned that one of her sons had hearing loss.
Q: When did you first find out about Kason’s hearing loss diagnosis?
Shanquail: Kason is our youngest son from a triplet pregnancy. He spent several weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit when he was born, and failed the newborn hearing screen. That’s the starting point of the journey we traveled in order to reach a hearing loss diagnosis.
Kason had several more hearing screens and a tympanogram was done, which detected fluid in his ears. The audiologist referred us to the ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctor for tube placement, due to the fluid in his ears, and to rule out hearing loss.
In January, Kason had tubes placed in his ears, and underwent a more in-depth hearing screen in the operating room, as well. The in-depth hearing screen showed moderate hearing loss in the right ear and moderate-to-severe hearing loss in the left ear. The audiologist stated he would need hearing aids and gave us an appointment card for a consultation at the children’s hospital of Alabama Hear Center.
Q: What was your experience with hearing loss prior to your son’s diagnosis?
Shanquail: We really don’t have a lot of experience with hearing loss. My first cousin had meningitis as a baby and has unilateral hearing loss, but she never wore a hearing aid or used any other assistive devices. Kason is the first person in our family born with hearing loss who wears hearing aids. This is a new experience for us.
Q: Where did you find support or guidance after his diagnosis?
Shanquail: We have received a lot of support from Children’s Hospital of Alabama Hear Center, Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind, Children Rehabilitation Services, Community Service Early Intervention program, Phonak, family, and friends.
Q: How has he adapted to his hearing technology so far?
Shanquail: Kason is adapting well to his hearing aids. He is smiling and very attentive. I read “The Little Boy Who Cried Wolf,” to him the other day and he looked at the pictures in the book, smiled, and kicked as I read the story. The “Little Boy Who Cried Wolf,” was his first story with his new ears.
Kason also heard himself cry for the first time yesterday and completely froze in place; I guess the loud sound startled him. We are excited how well he is doing with his Phonak Sky V hearing aids.
Q: What do you hope other families gain from your story or what advice would you give other parents?
Shanquail: We hope families are inspired by our faith and determination to help our child thrive and conquer the world. We hope our story bring families closer and give them a relentless desire to exhaust every avenue for their child. We refuse to allow hearing loss to define our child, and we hope other families follow in our footsteps.
“We refuse to allow hearing loss to define our child…”
Q: Anything else I would like the community to know?
Shanquail: We have started a campaign to address our son as “Triumphant Kason,” because he is victorious over hearing loss. We are determined to help our child reach and exceed all of his milestones in life. We refuse to allow hearing loss to dampen our spirits, make Kason feel different from his brothers, or allow him to hide behind his hearing aids in shame.
We chose Phonak Sky V hearing aids in Carribean blue with a yellow hook in order for his hearing aids to stand out. We are raising our son to be proud of who he is and to always remember he was made perfect by God.
We plan to continue to raise awareness about hearing loss in our community and educate parents on the importance of being aware of the signs of hearing loss. Our best advice for families is to continue to love and support your child and make strides everyday to help them better themselves.