Living With Conditions Finnegan's Great Start

The birth of my second child, Finnegan, was a whirlwind - fast and full of excitement, which is true to his personality. He was a healthy, full term delivery, and we had no complications. When our nurse took him for his first hearing screen, I was catching some precious sleep. My husband went with them to the nursery and stayed while he was screened. Though he referred in both ears, I wasn't concerned. I knew from my experience as a nurse in a labor and delivery unit that fast deliveries often referred because of fluid in the ear. When they took him for his second screening, I stayed by his side. He referred again bilaterally, and we were given follow up information. Little did we know that those initial screens were the start of a lifelong journey for Finnegan. At four months, he was diagnosed with profound hearing loss in one ear and moderate to severe in the other. He heard our voices for the first time the day before Thanksgiving at almost five months when he received his first hearing aids. He received a cochlear implant at twelve months. With diagnosis also came support, and we connected with other families with DHH children as well as deaf adult mentors.

Finnegan's hearing screens at birth ensured that he had the best start to life. They meant early diagnosis. They meant exposure to sound at a young age. They meant support therapy like speech to help him meet developmental milestones. They meant resources for ASL. They meant community so we could connect with families like ours and people of all ages who are like him. Hearing screening opened Finnegan's and our world.

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