Early intervention makes a world of difference in how quickly and successfully a hearing-impaired child will develop speech and language skills. Newborn hearing screening makes that early intervention possible. But what happens when a newborn slips thro
Amanda Iandoli: My name is Amanda Rose Iandoli. I am 8 and a half. My birthday is March 12, 1994. Sheryl Iandoli: Oh, she is beautiful. She was beautiful when she was born. They looked at her and they said everything was fine. I thought she was perfectly healthy at the time. Female Speaker 1: Newborn hearing screening was not then the law in Massachusetts, so Amanda went home without a hearing test. It wasn't until three years later and after the birth of her younger sister Sarah that Amanda's parents began sensing something was wrong. Robert Iandoli: Amanda was sitting in the living room watching television and we were calling her name and she wasn't responding. And I think that's when we got our first inkling that something might not be right. Female Speaker 2: I'm going to be right on the other side of the window watching you. Female Speaker 1: Amanda came to Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, where she was tested and diagnosed with severe hearing loss in both ears. Sheryl Iandoli: My fears for Amanda at the time were will she be able to read, will she be able to write, will she ever be able to keep up with her peers? Female Speaker 2: Okay, now we're going to do that test where you hear that man telling you to say some words. I just want you to repeat back whatever he says. Okay. Female Speaker 1: Sheryl had reason to be fearful because most children diagnosed with a hearing loss so late will have great difficulty catching up with their peers. Dr. Michael Cunningham: They may never catch up if they're detected too late. In Amanda's case, she's a really bright little kid and I think so she was able to catch up quite quickly, but that's, unfortunately that's not universally true. Female Speaker 1: In fact, shortly after Amanda's hearing loss was diagnosed, her parents had her 18-month old sister Sarah tested as well. To everyone's dismay, Sarah was also diagnosed with a hearing loss in both ears. Amanda Iandoli: When she says arah for her name, I say is arah and then she says S-arah I'm telling her SARAH. She says it pretty good now. Sarah Iandoli: And we id everything we used to o! Sheryl Iandoli: That you used to do? Did you take a nap? In Sarah's case, she speaks a lot in vowels, car would be ar. Oh in Jacob's bedroom. Female Speaker 1: Although Sarah was diagnosed at an earlier age and with a less significant hearing loss than Amanda's, she has not responded as quickly to treatment. Sheryl Iandoli: She gets frustrated sometimes because we don't understand her and it can be hard on her. Female Speaker 1: Unlike their younger brother Matthew who has normal hearing, both sisters rely heavily on hearing aids. While they help bring their hearing closer to normal, they are not a cure. Amanda Iandoli: When I first put them in, my brother and sister are putting toys away like they're throwing them in the toy box it kind of feels like crash, crash. It sounds really louder than it really is. Female Speaker 1: Dr. Eavey says that while wearing a hearing aid isn't easy, it's usually parents who are most upset about the potential social stigma. Dr. Roland Eavey: Most parents are working at the level of, oh, I just don't want my child to have hearing aids on, so we have to reframe this for them, and literally reframe this because 50 years ago if someone wore eye glasses, that was considered probably pitiful. And now we have fashion eyewear and people who have 20/20 vision will go out and spend a lot of money on frames and glasses because they look better. Female Speaker 1: While hearing aids have not come that far, they are less obtrusive than they were, and they come in fashionable colors, which Amanda likes. Sheryl Iandoli: She got new molds the other day and they're bright blue and she came in first thing and went to the teacher and said, can I do show and tell with my molds? Amanda Iandoli: Once I show it to my class, they don't ask me what it is, what it is. All my friends know about it because I tell them. Sheryl Iandoli: My hope is for my three kids for when they're older is to be whatever they want to be and not let anyone tell them different.