Playing musical instruments (especially the drums!), building sandcastles at the beach, playing with balls at the park, and exploring push-pull-slide books are amongst some of one-year-old Riaan’s go-to activities.
Riaan was born with bilateral moderate to severe hearing loss which initially left his parents, Iushi and Neil, feeling saddened that he couldn’t hear their voices.
“Through my pregnancy, I loved playing music and singing, and it was so sad to know that Riaan hadn’t heard me clearly then or even when he was a few weeks old,” Iushi said.
“But then, with all of the right information and understanding, we became very focused on getting the right hearing technology and therapies for him, so that it felt less overwhelming.
“You get a good support network, build resilience, and learn to cope and focus on the next step – then he’s just like any other baby, but with troubles hearing.”
Riaan was fitted with hearing aids at nine weeks old and was initially progressing well, coming into Hear and Say for support.
“Hear and Say has given us so much support, starting when Riaan was only 12 weeks old. They gave us information, allowed us to speak to other parents with children with hearing loss, supported us when his hearing loss deteriorated so that we could get access to the technology he needed as soon as possible,” Iushi said.
When Riaan was nine months old his hearing loss became more profound.
“This was an unexpected loss and meant he couldn’t get access to all the speech sounds with his hearing aids. We then progressed to cochlear implant work-up very rapidly, with lots of support from Hear and Say and our ENT specialist,” Neil said.
Riaan underwent cochlear implant surgery in September 2021 and had his implant switched on to sound for the first time at Hear and Say’s centre in Ashgrove one week later.
Riaan and his family are supported by Hear and Say through individualised speech therapy, audiology, Group Social Skills program – Listen Little Stars, and parent education webinars.
“They continue to help us use specialist speech therapy, known as Listening and Spoken Language therapy, to help develop his spoken language. We have a fantastic team of therapists and audiologists who have established a lovely rapport with Riaan,” Iushi said.
“He enjoys coming to the centre, playing with the toys and singing songs with everyone, including the reception staff!”