Through my ties to CC, I have been in touch with a PhD psychologist friend of mine about whats going on with Dominic (Hi L. – I know you’re reading!), and had asked her for her professional opinion about if a mild hearing loss could cause the sudden shift in speech development and behavior that we’ve seen. I know that she’s not a developmentalist, so I gave her permission to forward this blog on to any colleagues she might know of who would have insight – after all, it’s the internet, its not like anything I write is private.
Anyway, she contacted the woman who was the Psych department head while I was at CC, who is a developmentalist, who contacted a colleague of hers in London who did her PhD in biomedical engineering on assessing the auditory response cradle for newborn screening. Until recently, she was in charge of pediatric audiology for the North Thames region (about a quarter of greater London) – for roughly 20 years, to get her opinion.
This is and excerpt of what came back. I’m gobsmacked to say the least.
“The query you were asked was is it possible for a mild hearing loss in a child to cause dramatic changes in behaviour and language that in some ways resemble autistic spectrum disorder. At Hillingdon hospital I saw many young children who were driving their parents to distraction with behavioural problems that arose during episodes of just a mild conductive hearing loss. Some of these cases did indeed exhibit more extreme behavioural and language changes that resembled autistic spectrum disorder.
Some years ago Prof Mark Haggard wrote a major document on mild conductive hearing loss which touched on the subject.
Joy says below that she "had a hearing loss.......found at age 6, but my parents assume it was there from birth - and I didn't have any issues with speech or communication". A congenital hearing loss does NOT contribute to behavioural problems in children in the way that an acquired hearing loss
does. Plus if with this particular child it is believed there might have been stress associated with starting pre-school, this would have added to the problems of mild hearing problems.
In reading the blog I gather that both mom and grandad had hearing loss diagnosed in their childhood. It is very likely that Dominic has inherited this. Does mom know if her and her dad's loss is conductive or sensori-neural? … Dominic could have a mild sensori-neural loss which, with the start of pre-school and being exposed to the usual coughs and colds of young children, has led to a further conductive overlay due to otitis media with effusion. This would be enough to cause behavioural problems and the regression of speech to babble.”
A link about Otis Media with Effusion: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/007010.htm
I checked the calendar. Feb 28 – Dominic brought home a cold from school. He went back to school Friday, and then got sick with the Flu on Sunday. And we kept him home for a week (the same flu that landed me in the ER that week, yep, that one). I do not think that anyone has looked in his ears since then.
This could very well be the trigger we’ve been looking for. The timing matches. Almost perfectly.
I have made an appointment with the pediatrician for next week Wednesday, at 3:40 pm to check his inner ear for OME.