Elangkumaran, Harini

Harini : Shyness gives way to Quiet Confidence

Harini failed her SWISH test – new born hearing screening in April 2010, and was later diagnosed with bilateral profound hearing loss. Her parents Jeya & Kumar were shocked with this news as there was no family history of hearing loss.

Jeya commented soon after that sometimes she felt Harini was responding to sound but in reality it was probably just her feeling the vibration.

Soon after diagnosis Harini was fitted with hearing aids and was referred to SCIC by Dr Catherine Birman. When she was two months old she commenced candidacy preparation with clinicians Paula Berkley & Kylie Chisholm.

Throughout this time it was frustrating for Harini’s family to have to deal with her trying to take the hearing aids off particularly as they hadn’t seen any real responses in her while using them. On the advice of SCIC, they persisted with regular daily use when she was not sleeping or in the car.

Once they joined the SCIC program it helped that although the family speak Tamil at home they also speak English so no interpreter was required for any of the many sessions they would need to have leading up to surgery and in the post operative stage.

In order to help with Harini’s development the family attended an early learning program and joined a regular playgroup to meet other families of young children with hearing loss.

As part of the candidacy process, an MRI scan was done which showed that Harini’s auditory nerves and cochleas had no abnormalities. These results indicated to Dr Birman that a cochlear implant would be of great benefit to Harini and recommended that she be implanted when she was between six to nine months old.

Jeya and Kumar agreed and were keen to have bilateral cochlear implants for Harini as soon as possible.

In November 2010, Harini had implant surgery at Adventist Hospital with Dr Birman. Dr Halit Sanli assisted with testing to ensure that the implants had been positions correctly and that all electrodes were working.

After Bilateral Switch On in December Jeya noted that Harini’s day sleeping patterns had changed and she was more unsettled.  It was reassuring for Jeya to know that this was probably because she is so aware of the sound around her.  Jeya and Kumar were also pleased to note that Harini was now starting to respond to many sounds at home including her name being called.

By January 2011 Harini had started to crawl and pull herself up. Her family were very excited that she was now turning to the sounds made by birds, planes, water running as well as voices. She was also imitating sounds like quack quack and using her voice to request actions

To her family’s delight, Harini is now doing extremely well and is currently age appropriate with her speech sounds. Her shyness is now giving way to confidence as she starts at playgroup and with the help of SCIC by the time she is five she should be ready to go to regular school.

Learning to use a cochlear implant to hear needs lots of practice and help from all the family – Harini’s big brother Athavan has been a fantastic helper in session which has been much appreciated by his parents in helping her to discover the world of sound around her.