September 16, 2010

How Music Proved Medicine Wrong

A friend of mine on Twitter, Barbara, posted on her blog that she is having a "blog carnival". She challenged her friends to write a post "about the place of music in the life of your child." This is a no-brainer to me; music plays such a big part in my life, and the life of my two children. I could easily write a post about how much we love music; about the Mommy-and-Me music classes I've taken with both kids; about how I rarely play "kid" music in the car but instead play them "Mama music" to expose them to what I love to listen to; or about how soon I'll be starting D with some kind of music lessons, perhaps on piano or guitar.

Instead, however, I will write about how music let me know that my daughter, A, isn't completely deaf.

As I wrote about earlier this week, A has profound hearing loss (is practically deaf) in her left ear, and has mild-to-moderate hearing loss in her right ear (she has normal hearing in her right ear with her hearing aid). When she was in the NICU for 12 weeks, she failed her newborn test. She then had further testing (the BAER and the ASSR) and we were told by the audiology department that she was completely deaf.

This not only devastated me, but confused me. You see, not only did A seem to respond to my voice, but she also seemed to respond to music. I had brought in a portable CD player, and would play her music every morning and every evening. Some of the music was classical music from the Baby Einstein series, but I most often played her my favorite band--the Beatles--in the form of a CD called "Bedtime with the Beatles" which was instrumental versions of Beatles songs. She always seemed to respond when I put the music on.

When I told the audiologist this, she responded that A probably felt the vibrations from the CD player, and that was what she was responding too. But I knew better. The CD wasn't in her bassinet; it was on the counter behind the bed. She couldn't feel the vibrations. I KNEW, in my heart, that she heard the music, at whatever level she was able to hear. I just knew she wasn't 100% deaf.

Of course, further testing showed that I was right. She WAS hearing the music. Music was the key to me advocating for further testing. To this day, A loves music. Every time a new song comes on the radio she asks what the title is. She likes to "dance" to the rhythm in her carseat. She enjoys banging on our piano and playing on our child-sized drum set. I am so glad that A can hear, because I get to share with her one of my greatest pleasures in life: the joy of music.


  1. Like mother like daughter! Beautiful story, SM! Thank you - I'm sure other parents can relate and that your story will be encouraging to parents who are still meandering the diagnosis phase. Barbara

  2. What a great story! I think music is very important. We have a piano that the girls love to 'play', and my husband plays guitar. Soon he'll teach Gracie, and eventually Hanna. There's always some sort of music in our house :)

  3. I love how you just knew in your heart and didn't believe the doctors when they told you she was deaf. I love when mothers have feelings like that and are right.

    Music is so important for a lot of people, us included. Gracie loves music, especially Keith Urban. His music has encouraged her to get up and dance and smile and vocalize.

    I think I am going to check out your friend's blog and might just write my own post about it!

  4. I so remember her responding to music in the hospital. I also remember her responding to me cuddling her and saying, "Sh.....Sh...." when she was one day old! I also instinctively knew that she could hear!

  5. I was just listening to that Beatles cd that you sent me the other day! You're such a good mama!

  6. This story warms my heart. Isn't it wonderful to TRULY know that we mamas (and papas, too) know our children better than anyone?

  7. This is such a rewarding story to read!

  8. What a beautiful story!! Love that you were able to see her responding and not only advocate for more testing, but help her develop what will surely be a lifelong love of music! When I was pregnant with my twins I traded in my more, um, rowdy music for some instrumental music and played the same CD almost daily on my commute. When they were in the NICU I played that for them in hopes that it would be familiar and soothing. They did seem to recognize it :).


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