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One-year-old Cartia loves to sing nursery rhymes, read books and even try to turn the pages herself! She loves bath time with her siblings and cries when it’s time to get out.

Cartia is a very visual person and is happy to observe and watch the world around her. She shows plenty of different facial expressions and always has a smile on her face.

Just after birth, Cartia was diagnosed with cytomegalovirus (CMV), closely followed by a diagnosis of unilateral sensorineural hearing loss in her left ear.


“Cartia failed her newborn hearing screening twice, and then had an audiology hearing test (Auditory Brainstem Response) to confirm the diagnosis,” said Jade, Cartia’s mum.

“We were devastated at first however also very grateful at the same time that Cartia could still hear our voices with her right ear. So far, she can still hear perfectly out of her right ear, so we are happy,” she said.

“Cartia was then fitted with a pretty pink hearing aid at six months old while she awaited surgery for a cochlear implant.”

Jade and Erik were familiar with Hear and Say through a friend, and thought the organisation would be a good fit for their family.

“We were already familiar with Hear and Say as we had a friend whose son is also deaf, and attends the organisation. We did our research around where the best place for Cartia would be, with therapy and for her cochlear journey, and found that Hear and Say was the best option for our family,” said Jade.

“Cartia does fortnightly speech therapy, all of her audiology appointments at Hear and Say and also many appointments pre and post cochlear implant surgery,” she said.

“It has opened up the door to a whole new world of hearing. From all of the new listening and language skills we have learnt through lessons that we then teach Cartia at home, to the other parents I have connected with who are going through the exact same thing,” she said.

“It’s been a long journey with many appointments and therapy sessions, but Cartia has come a long way, and is reaching her listening and language goals, so we are very happy.”

Cartia underwent surgery for a cochlear implant at 13 months old with her switch-on at Hear and Say’s Ashgrove centre two weeks later.

“Leading up to Cartia’s switch-on day, we didn’t know what to expect,” said Jade.

“We were so nervous yet excited for Cartia’s journey and all the new sounds that she would have access to.”


Jade and Erik have taken Cartia’s diagnosis in their stride, and are confident she will grow up courageous, and be whoever she wishes.

“This is who she is, and nothing will change that so we have learnt to deal with the diagnosis accordingly, and support her as much as we can,” said Jade.
“We are incredibly grateful for the lovely staff at Hear and Say who have made our hearing loss journey a great one rather than a sad one.”

A noisy celebration is in order for the School Hearing Screening team who have provided over 100,000 screenings to students across Queensland through the Hear to Learn program.

It was St Martin’s Primary School in Carina where the team screened their 100,000th student (or, shall we say, the 200,000th ear).

Since its inception in 2016, the Hear to Learn program has visited over 400 schools (many with repeat visits) and screened 102,669 students throughout South-East and Central Queensland. An average 7.9% of students have been found with not optimal hearing on the day of the screening, with approximately 10.6% of students referred for further assessment.

Helping students reach their full potential

The Hear to Learn program delivers vital hearing screening to kindergartens and primary schools across Queensland to ensure students are hearing optimally and getting the most out of their education, now and in the future.

What is otherwise a simple five-minute hearing screen could change a child’s learning journey and help them to reach their full potential.

While the State Government’s Universal Newborn Hearing Screening plays a critical role in identifying hearing loss at birth, hearing loss can occur at any time. In fact, the number of children with hearing loss doubles by the time they reach school age.

Classrooms are noisy environments and if a student is experiencing difficulties with their hearing, it can have a significant impact on their ability to learn. By identifying hearing loss in students, it can reduce the chance of delays in speech and language development, learning difficulties, and behavioural problems.

Creating lasting change with Thiess

To ensure that geography is not a barrier to accessing vital early childhood hearing services, the screening team has visited regional Queensland for six years thanks to Thiess, Hear to Learn’s founding regional partner.

For nearly thirty years, Thiess has partnered with Hear and Say in driving meaningful and lasting change for babies and children with hearing loss through numerous fundraising events and Hear to Learn.

It is fitting that the funding Thiess provides supports students in the regions where Thiess operates.

Each year, the School Screening Team visits schools across Central Queensland delivering hearing screenings that otherwise might not be easily accessible or require a long drive from home.

These trips ensure that regional children with hearing issues can be identified, receive the help they need, and aren’t left behind simply because of where they live.

“Being able to identify hearing loss early in the children we screen is the first step to giving them the best opportunity for development,” said Matthew Gee, Hearing Screener – Team Leader at Hear and Say.

“We really enjoy visiting the rural and regional towns to offer the screening service that may not be accessible to them otherwise. Geography should not limit a child’s ability to learn and live life to their fullest potential.”

Thanks to the funding provided by Thiess, 436 children in regional and rural Queensland have been screened across 18 schools this year so far.

Want to book a screening for your school?

If you would like to book your school or kindergarten for hearing screenings in 2024, visit our Hearing School Screening page or contact the friendly team on (07) 3850 2111.

There is one day a year when you’re guaranteed to see a splash of bright colour and noise building in a community rallying together for a cause.

Launched in 2002, Loud Shirt Day is an annual fundraising event held in October of every year to raise awareness and funds for children with hearing loss. It was born out of an international collaboration between the member organisations of First Voice across three countries – Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. First Voice is a group of world-leading centres that specialise in providing listening and spoken language services to children with hearing loss.

The premise of Loud Shirt Day is to wear your loudest and brightest shirt, but the reason isn’t strictly an excuse to don Hawaiian prints or embrace ‘70s tie-dye. It’s an opportunity to make some noise and show your support to children who are deaf or hearing impaired so that they can live life to their full potential.

Small town with a big heart

The outback town of Aramac, home to just nearly 300 people, has seen a bright history of loud shirts and jumping on board for what’s called the ‘Loudest Town’ competition.

Introduced by Hear and Say as part of their Loud Shirt Day celebrations in 2019, the competition challenges small Queensland towns to don their wackiest shirt and raise the most money. The prize is a framed ‘loud’ shirt signed by Hear and Say Vice Patron and NRL legend, Wally Lewis.

Not just a fundraising initiative, the Loudest Town competition is also an opportunity to bring communities together behind a common cause and to celebrate young people with hearing loss and their achievements.

A cause close to their hearts

Led by locals Kerryn and Sam Geltch, Aramac have banded together and taken part in the Loudest Town competition for several years, taking home the coveted title in 2022 after raising an impressive $29,147 (they’ve now raised a total of $70,000 so far for Loud Shirt Day).

Kerryn and Sam’s daughter, ten-year-old Emily, was diagnosed with profound hearing loss in her left ear and moderate-to-severe hearing loss in her right ear at birth. Given there was no family history of hearing loss, the diagnosis was a surprise for Emily’s parents.

“For two new parents from the bush to travel 1,200km away from our home and family to seek answers was very daunting,” said Kerryn.

“I can still remember those first couple of months so clearly – it was a whirlwind of appointments with many different specialists and so much information to absorb.”

After being fitted with hearing aids, Emily underwent her first cochlear implant surgery when she was one year old. When her hearing aid in her right ear was no longer enough, she received her second cochlear implant in 2021.

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Thanks to the RETAIN program, a rewarding initiative between QCoal Foundation and Hear and Say, Emily attended specialised speech therapy sessions via telehealth appointments and travelled to the Townsville and Brisbane centres for audiology services.

“Living in a rural area has certainly been a huge challenge with the distance we need to travel, and the cost involved with that. The feeling of isolation, especially in the early years was very hard, however, we got through the other side by sticking together,” said Kerryn.

“It’s been a long road, but we are so proud of how far Emily has come and we are confident she has an amazing future ahead of her.

“Her speech and language blows us away every day. Her reading and writing is immaculate and she loves to learn.”

The Rivett family is calling on the coastal town of Yeppoon to turn up the volume and don their brightest again for Loud Shirt Day.

Inspired by their five-year-old daughter Charlotte, Catherine and Tim Rivett are seasoned Loud Shirt legends having rallied the Yeppoon community to win the Loudest Town title in 2021 and raise more than $30,000 last year.

“Our five-year-old daughter Charlotte is the biggest inspiration in life, seeing all the challenges she has had to overcome, and Hear and Say has played a vital part in helping Charlotte live her life to the fullest,” said Catherine.

“The first inkling we had that Charlotte had hearing difficulties was during the newborn screening in hospital. She passed on her right side but failed on her left. The nurses tried to assure us that this was common, and the result could have been due to a build-up of fluid which, if it was, would resolve,” she said.

“When Charlotte was born, she spent five days in special care as it was discovered she was having difficulty breathing through her nose which required further testing.

“Charlotte and I were flown down to Brisbane and testing showed a blocked right nasal passage and a narrow left nasal passage (explaining her occasional difficulty breathing) but also showed an absent left auditory nerve meaning Charlotte would never hear on her left side.

“Charlotte underwent several surgeries to help rectify her breathing problems. Her ENT was incredible, he guided and supported us through the diagnosis that Charlotte wouldn’t hear from her left side and gave us assurance that she would do well in life with single-sided hearing, wearing her hearing aid.”

Charlotte And Duck2

Catherine and Tim believed that hearing aids or cochlear implants could assist hearing loss, and whilst that is often the case, it wasn’t the case for Charlotte’s left side. At two months old, Charlotte was fitted with a hearing aid and the family started their journey with Hear and Say.

“We must have looked like deer-in-headlights during our first appointment, but the team at Hear and Say couldn’t have helped more. With their history of helping babies and children with hearing loss, they were well versed at helping the whole family as a unit,” said Catherine.

“We started with telehealth appointments, meaning we could have the services remotely from where we live in Yeppoon. The initial listening and spoken language lessons educated us as parents about how we could improve Charlotte’s access to sound and ensure she progressed and developed at the same rate as her peers,” she said.

“As a first-time mother, I was so appreciative of the weekly, and then fortnightly lessons, as our wonderful speech pathologist, Elizabeth, was able to guide me on age-appropriate books and activities. The lessons were a silver lining to what otherwise was a tough diagnosis.”

Charlotte was progressing well, talking and meeting milestones however at two years old she unexpectedly lost the hearing in the right ear.

“Charlotte became profoundly deaf overnight and she wasn’t at an age where we could explain what had happened,” said Catherine.

“It was devastating to our family and traumatic for Charlotte who had no understanding as to what was happening and lost her ability to communicate,” she said.

“Having had a child who was speaking and listening so well, to all of a sudden having no access to sound, really highlighted to us all how important to a child’s development communication really is.”

Four months after Charlotte losing her hearing, and with extensive counselling and expectation meetings, Tim and Catherine decided to go ahead with a cochlear implant on Charlotte’s right side.

“After a nervous wait, Charlotte was switched on in July 2021, eight days post-surgery,” said Catherine.

“Hear and Say guided us through the entire process, and even allowed our family and friends to live stream the switch-on as they couldn’t be there at the time due to COVID-19 restrictions,” she said.

“Since then, we’ve had regular audiology programming and listening and spoken language lessons, both in-centre and via telehealth. Charlotte gained access to vital sound quickly.
“Much of Charlotte’s success is due to her sheer determination, happy nature, and desire to communicate with those around her.

“We can’t stress enough how much is also due the wonderful team at Hear and Say who ensured Charlotte’s early access to speech and continued her momentum post-switch on.”

As the Yeppoon community ramps up for their third Loud Shirt Day, we asked Catherine for her top fundraising tips for anyone participating:

1. Make it personal – “Personalise your fundraising. Show how the funds raised will be used and get the donor involved in the journey – everyone loves a feel-good story!”

2. Have fun! – “In 2022, we held a breakfast sausage sizzle which was a wonderful community event. We even had a drive-through option for busy people on their way to work and school”.

3. Spread the word far and wide – “Last year, we used social media to great effect in promoting our sausage sizzle event. We also had event signage, email signatures, and did an interview with ABC breakfast radio which was fantastic, and the radio host even donated to our fundraising efforts.”

“To anyone thinking of getting involved this year, I would say – just do it! Every dollar you raise is a dollar that goes to an incredible cause, and even more importantly, is raising awareness for deaf and hard of hearing children.

“Hear and Say has been instrumental in helping Charlotte reach her full potential to hear, listen, and speak, and we want to do all we can to ensure Hear and Say can continue their amazing work and help Queensland families with deaf and hard of hearing children.”

For the eighth year in a row, Mettle is gearing up for an even bigger and brighter Loud Shirt Day.

“Loud Shirt Day is always a special day here at Mettle,” said Sarah Murray, Business and Submissions Manager, Mettle.

Mettle has been a long-standing supporter of Hear and Say and Loud Shirt Day, raising vital funds and awareness for children with hearing loss. It is a cause close to the heart of Manager Director, Marc Kenney. He and his wife Tash have two children, Amelie and Xavier, who were both born deaf and went through the Hear and Say program.

Last year, the Mettle team rallied their staff, clients, subcontractors, family, and friends to get involved and raised over $64,000. They hosted a ‘Loud Shirt Day Summer Soiree’ event featuring a paw-fect pet competition and community-sponsored prizes.

“We love a theme here at Mettle! Of course, clients, subcontractors, family, and friends will all be involved this year but as for our theme…you will have to wait and see,” said Sarah.

While the Mettle team is tight-lipped about this year’s theme, if the past is anything to go by, it will no doubt be loud. Their Loud Shirt Day fundraising events have included loudest shirt competitions, a ping pong championship, creating Queensland’s largest Loud Shirt (five metres by four metres, to be exact) and a giant lei.


Marc reflected on the importance of Loud Shirt Day, and how inspiring it is to see everyone come together year after year.

“It’s pretty simple for me, my children inspire me to keep this going. It’s also knowing that the funds we raise help other families in the same situation we were in close to nine years ago when my daughter Amelie was born,” said Marc.

“It’s quite humbling and heart-warming at the same time to see our team get behind us each year. It’s a true blessing,” he said.

Marc’s children, nine-year-old Amelie and seven-year-old Xavier, who love gymnastics, sports, and hanging out with the other kids on their street, were both diagnosed with hearing loss at birth.

“It was heart shattering, hard to hear, hard to listen to, and hard to accept,” said Marc.

“I’d heard about Hear and Say when I was working for Thiess and did some fundraising for them back in 1996 – it’s weird how things come around,” he said.

Amelie and Xavier both received cochlear implants before they were one year old.

“When our children were switched on, it was a truly ‘let there be light’ moment” said Marc.

“Having access to Hear and Say helped us navigate those waters. Amelie and Xavier both came to Hear and Say for regular listening and spoken language therapy and Group Social Skills programs,” he said.

“Our outcomes are very different to what they could have been. We have two smart, healthy and genuinely joyful children who go to their local school and are nailing it,” he said.

“We are very blessed to have Hear and Say contribute to this outcome for the Kenney family.”

When asked what they would say to other businesses thinking of getting involved in Loud Shirt Day, it was a resounding “Do it!”

“It’s the most rewarding event you will participate in. Watching your teams fundraising page get bigger and bigger and knowing you are making a difference to the lives of children and families impacted by hearing loss, it’s almost addictive!”

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Online learning

From tinnitus, to cytomegalovirus, to teaching kids with hearing loss – further your knowledge with our on demand webinars.

2022-23 Annual Report

Read about the 300 babies born with hearing loss in Australia each year, and how Hear and Say continued to change lives this year.

Celebrating powerful communicators

Four courageous children and clients of Hear and Say shared their stories at the inaugural Power of Speech event.

Workplace giving

“The program gives our staff a sense of pride in the company and for the work they do at Sci-Fleet." – Allison Scifleet, Guest Experience Manager, Sci-Fleet Motors.

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