Chloe came home a couple of weeks ago with a notice that she had failed the school hearing test in one ear. Eric was taking her to the doctor anyway not long after, for a mild but chronic stomachache (which we haven't yet gotten to the bottom of; the doctor suggested constipation but we've taken steps on that and the stomachache hasn't gone away. Eric and I thought we were done with close encounters with other people's poop once our children could wipe themselves reliably, but lo, we were wrong). While there, he asked them about the hearing test, and they did another and agreed that she totally had trouble with the lower frequencies in her left ear and that there was nothing in the ear canal to explain it. She went to the audiologist a few days ago and the audiologist concluded that the damage is in the nerves or the processing centers of the brain, which means it's permanent.
She's already started using it as an excuse.
It's mild to moderate, and only in the lower frequencies. Since none of us really suspected it* until the school report came home, it's obviously not very significant. I feel bad for her nonetheless, but it's comforting that it's not a very big deal--at least, not right now. She's getting an appointment with an ENT and we'll be following up to make sure that whatever caused it is not still causing it and making things worse.
She mentioned the other day that she was having trouble hearing one of her friends in the lunchroom. "But the doctor said I would have the worst trouble in that kind of situation, where it's loud everywhere," she said, very matter-of-factly.
Eric believes that this explains why we've never succeeded in getting her to achieve any sort of "car voice." Possibly she's also just a loud child, but it's true that we've always had to shush her more than we have Maia. We've told her that we're going to work on it so she understands what the right volume is, but we're going to work on being more understanding when she misjudges, too.
*I have in the past thought that we ought to see if she had wax impacted in her ears or something. But it never occurred to me as something to seriously pursue. Should it have? Children are notorious for reputedly having selective hearing. The audiologist said that one of the possible causes was her jaundice. We don't know, and we may never. Are there other things that may develop into problems, or be worsened, because it does't occur to me to act?