Good Things Come in Small Packages

April 13, 2012 hearing loss, Laine, Sensory System 3 Comments

It is a common expression, and it is completely appropriate for the subject of this post…but I must add a disclaimer. Good things come in really big packages too! 🙂

In this case, the small package is a $3,500.00 little black box about the size of my thumbnail.

It attaches to a screw implanted in my daughter’s bone behind her left ear.

And it gives her normal hearing!

I’m referring to the BAHA, or Bone Anchored Hearing Aid.
Prior to adopting Candie, I had no idea about a BAHA except that it was a city in California.

Candie was eight years old when we adopted her. She has bi-lateral microtia. For eight years while living in a Chinese foster home, she heard nothing but muffled sounds.

After we brought her home, our ENT suggested she would be a candidate for a BAHA, and so we opted to go with just one side for starters.

Candie has been wearing her BAHA for 3 years, so technically her “hearing age” is 3 yrs. old. Of course she is really 11 years old. But because of her hearing impairment, she is significantly delayed.

HOWEVER, through the Good Lord’s intervention, His grace and mercy providing Candie with extensive speech therapy and auditory therapy…she has made GREAT strides. She still has a ways to go, but as I find in so many situations, the best perspective is to look how far she’s come, and not focusing so much on what she CAN’T do.

Candie’s BAHA is the first thing she puts on in the morning and the last thing she takes off at night. It is her “right hand man”. Wherever we go, it goes.

So you can imagine Candie’s dismay when a few weeks ago, the skin around the screw became so infected that she couldn’t wear her BAHA. After oral and topical antibiotics, it still didn’t clear up and in just a matter of days, her skin grew BACK OVER the screw.

There was nothing we could do but schedule a revision surgery to remove the skin and expose the screw again. And this would take weeks for them to “fit us in”.

And what would Candie do during those weeks of not being able to hear again?

Oh it was sad, I’m not gonna lie. She became extremely quiet. She wouldn’t utter a peep for days. It was like she reverted back to her silent life in China.

And it broke my heart.

Imagine not being able to hear for 8 years, then being given the gift of hearing, working hard to learn words and sounds for 3 years, and then just like that, you can’t hear anything anymore.

We had to do a lot of yelling so she could hear us. (and I confess, often I would forget who could hear and who could not, so it was not uncommon for one of my children to remind me, “Mom, I CAN HEAR YOU!” That did provide some comedic relief!)

Candie did a lot of lip reading. She sat and “listened” while I read books aloud, but she couldn’t follow along. We all did our best to help her during this time.

Oh how I prayed that her verbal language development wouldn’t suffer a setback!

Finally the day came for the revision, and Candie couldn’t have been happier! (granted, a little nervous about being put under anesthesia)

A few days later, things were looking clear enough to try to wear the BAHA again. I snapped it on the screw, and turned it on.

Immediately, her face lit up.

Her beautiful smile came back.

Her brother whispered ever so softly, “Candie.”

And she turned her head to him and smiled.

I realized then how much a little black box can mean to a little girl. It can give her access to the sounds of God’s beautiful world.

A few nights after this, we were about to have Bible time, and Candie quickly got her Bible and came to find me. She said to me, “Mom! I hear read Bible now!”

Yes, you can. You can hear us read the Bible now. Thank you Lord. Good things do come in small packages!

Romans 10:17 “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.”

3 responses to “Good Things Come in Small Packages”

  1. grtlyblesd says:

    That was beautifully written. I love how you tied the verse in. But Baja is actually not a city in California, it’s a penninsula south of California that is Mexican territory.

  2. Aus says:

    Good morning guys – as an adoptive parent who suffers hearing loss after about 30 years with “normal” hearing – I can so relate!! I’m able to get by for now with bi-lateral hearing aids – but will someday probably end up with a baha – I too have learned to “lip read’ – and know all too well the frustration of not being able to wear one or both aids because of an infection. But mostly I know all too well the feeling of ‘missing out’ – because even with the aids in and working – I miss a lot!

    And after all of that?

    I wouldn’t trade my experience for anything. Candie – you and I have a special gift – we know the difference between having all of our senses and having one missing….and because of that….we will always be a little more sensitive to the needs of others.

    And that counts young one – you’re going to have such a wonderful life!

    hugs – aus and co.

  3. Leslie says:

    Oh bless her sweet heart!

    Our little man is currently without his BAHA as well. It had to go back for repairs b/c it won’t stay on. 🙁

    He says every morning, “I miss my hear aid.”

    Awwwww. As for the yelling, yeah I get that too except it is mostly us saying, “J, you don’t need to yell. We can hear you.” He laughs and says, “I got” (translated: “I forgot”).

    Thanks for sharing Laine and reminding me that J’s hearing age is just 3 months. That puts his speech in perspective (he has minimal hearing loss in his hearing ear, but he didn’t hear much if at all in China due to ear infections that they documented to us. When we got home, he couldn’t hear at all in either ear. BAHA placed and turned on in January.

    Candie is a beautiful little girl! You are BLESSED!


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