Charlie is always up for a challenge or a game - at just eight years old he is an all-rounder with a love for rugby, swimming, soccer, chess and stem activities.

When Charlie was six years old, he had an accident, falling out of a tree and suffering a head injury, with fractures to the bones in his middle and inner ear. This left Charlie with a profound hearing loss on his left side, a diagnosis his family were not expecting.

“I think it would be fair to say we were bewildered and shocked. We had no idea what this diagnosis meant for Charlie or how we would help him. We had no real understanding about the path we were about to travel,” said Jacqueline, Charlie’s mum.

During this challenging time, Hear and Say was front-of-mind for Jacqueline and her husband Matthew, having already been to the centre a few years prior.

“Charlie had a number of speech disorders as a young child. He had speech therapy when he was four-years-old at Hear and Say, as well as occupational therapy,” said Jacqueline. 

Going back to an organisation they knew could help felt like a good place to start their family’s journey.

“We started by educating ourselves, monitoring Charlie's progress and accessing the support and wisdom of families in a similar situation.

“During this time Hear and Say was pivotal in presenting information, answering our questions, arming us to support Charlie and advocating for him.

“Hear and Say made us brave,” said Jacqueline.

The next big step was deciding that a cochlear implant would be the best approach for Charlie.

“Since our decision to go ahead with a cochlear implant, Charlie’s journey has been smooth and progressive with the assistance from Hear and Say.

“Just months after receiving the implant, Charlie is understanding conversational language through the device and is eager to do his listening homework so he can directly stream the TV to his cochlear implant.

Img Charlie With Lama

“He used apps for his listening homework, they were based on levels and scores which really motivated him. He progressed quickly from the apps to listening to podcasts through his cochlear and then watching TV shows like Pokemon,” said Jacqueline.

Charlie's Family

On reflection, Jacqueline says the experience was better than she expected, and was impressed by how well Charlie adapted to his new situation.

“It has, at times, been emotional and daunting but in hindsight so much smoother than we originally anticipated.  

“Charlie’s love of sport has helped in his recovery and resilience, he always throws himself into any sport or challenge that he can, and now this includes his hearing journey,” said Jacqueline. 

It was important to Jacqueline and Matthew that their son be connected to the world of sound.

“We wanted to enable him to be who he was always going to be. 

“We never wanted to take anything away from Charlie. Reconnecting him with the world of bilateral sound allows him to continue to engage with friends, to confidently participate in sport and to maintain his passion for learning like he previously has.

“It gives Charlie the opportunity to be in charge of his learning and where that will take him in the future,” said Jacqueline. 

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Spotlight on single-sided deafness

“This research project is very exciting because it helps to show that children who receive a cochlear implant for single-sided deafness saw significant improvements in their day-to-day hearing abilities, which are maintained over time."

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“People kept mentioning to me that I was missing parts of conversations, and in crowded environments I was finding it very difficult to hear and engage with others."

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