Profound Deafness Makes Way For An Ear For Music
Having cleared all his baby health checks, hearing was the only milestone our son Daniel wasn’t passing. In 2001, hearing tests were done via clapping to see if the baby turned towards the sound. Daniel turned every time, and yet, as he grew bigger, he began to display many behavioural and communication difficulties: screaming, tantrums, hiding between furniture that puzzled his parents.
As Daniel became more uncontrollable, his father Ron and I stopped going out.
Following hearing assessments for Daniel’s older brother, Daniel was also diagnosed with a sloping to severe/profound hearing loss. Things started to add up for us: he was out of control because he was frustrated that he couldn’t hear and we couldn’t understand him.
Despite being fitted with hearing aids went he was two and a half, Daniel wasn’t getting much out of them, and cochlear implants were suggested for him. It was a big call for us to make so I started looking up every website and to read anything and everything I could find about the subject.
SCIC made our decisions a lot easier and with many visits from the social worker, audiologists, and speech pathologists to ensure Ron and I understood what lay ahead, the decision to proceed was made.
Daniel was assessed by SCIC and after all the necessary tests the OK to be implanted was given. It’s such a hard decision to make – “are you doing the right thing, what if it doesn’t work, is he too young?”
Daniel received his first cochlear implant when he was four years old. On the day of his ‘switch- on’ there wasn’t much of a reaction. Even though we were both so busy trying to keep him still we knew he was hearing some sounds as every now and then he would stop and look up.
Despite this limited initial reaction, we persisted with hard work and rehabilitation sessions that, over time, saw Daniel’s hearing (and behaviour) improve radically. Ron and I were so happy with his development that in December 2010, when he was nine years, we returned to SCIC to see if a second implant would help him further.
SCIC confirmed that a bilateral cochlear implant would assist Daniel even more with his hearing and he was implanted by Professor Bill Gibson, Director of SCIC.
Daniel has taken to his bilateral implant with great ease. We know his hearing has benefitted from the bilateral implants because we live about 10 k from Eastern creek raceway and on a good day you can hear the cars racing. Daniel used to get mad because he could never hear it, but since his bilateral implant he now comes and tells us when the racing is on.
A greater success though is the improvements in Daniel’s academic, language, and listening skills. He has developed into a positive, confident boy who is willing to get out there and give things a go.
Now in mainstream schooling with his two brothers and loving it, Daniel has developed a passion for snow skiing and has been able to represent his school in the Interschool competitions in July. More surprising is the fact that he has also developed an ear for music and is learning to play the piano.
Over the years since Daniel was implanted, we have had to put in a lot of hard work every day and week so that the intensive habilitation sessions provided by SCIC are not wasted. It was wonderful then for us to see him so much calmer and to be so interested in learning new things.
I am extremely grateful to SCIC for giving Daniel a life in the hearing world he may never have had without them. He can communicate with people and hear things he couldn’t before and as for Daniel, he says his cochlear implants are the” best things ever”.