But once he started using hearing aids, Teddy's speech and behavior improved considerably. Teddy was fitted with hearing aids in 2003 by LaGuinn Sherlock, M.A., CCC-A, Assistant Director of Audiological Services at the Maryland Hearing and Balance Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Michelle first took Teddy to Sherlock in April 2002 when he was 10 months old. Behavioral testing confirmed hearing loss in both ears and hearing aids were recommended. Ear impressions were taken to order the earmolds for the hearing aids to attach to. Two weeks later, Sherlock fitted Teddy with hearing aids in both ears and showed the Websters’ how to take care of the hearing aids.
"She's excellent," says Michelle of Sherlock. "She wears hearing aids so she has personal experience with this and a personal interest in this. She works with a lot of children so she’s used to them. She interacts well with Teddy and with me. And I like the fact that she always takes the time to explain the audiogram to me."
In the fall of 2004, an audiogram revealed Teddy’s hearing was getting worse, compared to the baseline. So the Websters’ went back to the UM Medical Center in November 2004 and tests confirmed the results. After the tests, Sherlock turned Teddy’s hearing aids up.
"Now his speech has taken off, improved greatly. From my observations he's getting a lot of benefit from the hearing aids," Michelle said. "When he gets dressed he asks for the hearing aids, if I forget. It has helped his behavior, it’s easier to deal with now, and we’re communicating better.”
Teddy started attending the Maryland School for the Deaf (preschool) in September, where he is learning sign language. Michelle says that while Teddy’s hearing is not perfect, his hearing aids “bring his hearing into the range where he can hear certain consonants,” she says.
Teddy will be seen by Sherlock every six months, but more frequently if he needs a new earmold.
"LaGuinn and the staff at the Maryland Hearing Center have been very nice and they always remember us when we come in and ask how Teddy is doing," says Michelle. "Teddy is very gregarious, very adorable, he's really cute. He’s got a lot of personality. He’s a neat kid."