Hearing Impaired

After about a year in Abidjan, we starting noticing that Aileen didn’t always react to people or noise. In the beginning, we could’t quite understand what was happening, because deaf people compensate with other senses, and their behaviour at times will look as if they can hear, even when they can’t. I keep watching and observing, because there was something, but I couldn’t define it. One day, returning home from work, I drove the car close to her and honked the horn. No reaction. First we asked a Bahá’í friend, a doctor, and then we decided it was time to get it check out. There were no adequate facilities in Abidjan, so back again to the US for tests. Aileen is profoundly deaf. We don’t know why it happened, if it is related to GSD or not. In the graphic, you can see that profoundly deaf means she doesn’t begin to hear sounds until they are over 100 decibels, and even above 120 decibels she doesn’t hear some sounds. If you click and open the graphic, you can see that Aileen has hearing above 100 decibels at low frequencies only. High frequencies are off the scale. Ordinary conversation is around 65 decibels. A rock concern is above 110 decibels. We were faced with a second serious difficulty in Aileen’s life, and few resources in Abidjan to help us. I had to recognise that there was no other choice but to return to the United States. I had no desire to return. I loved my work, and serving in Africa. But I could not ignore Aileen’s needs. Carolyn and I understood that caring for her was not going to be easy.