While the festive season is a special time for most of us, this year’s marks an especially momentous milestone for one-year-old, Finn – his first Christmas hearing with his cochlear implants.
Picked up through the newborn hearing screening program only days after birth, it was a diagnosis that left parents, Samantha and Tom, spinning.
“Finn was found to have hearing loss at around three weeks of age, just before Christmas and a three-week shutdown of hearing medical support services at our treating hospital due to the pandemic,” recalled Samantha.
“We knew that Finn had severe-to-profound deafness but still didn’t have a lot of information about why or what his options were. During this ‘limbo’ time, I was devastated and exceptionally emotional, as my immediate thoughts were that Finn may never hear my voice. They were some of the hardest days we have ever had.”
After the initial shock, further appointments and online research gave the family some confidence that Finn would be able to grow up being able to hear and speak. That glimmer of hope soon turned to great optimism after they were referred to Hear and Say.
“We came to the point where it was time to move forward with making Finn’s life like any other child’s, and filled with as many opportunities as we could possibly offer through modern medicine, technology and support services,” said Samantha.
“Shortly after Finn’s hearing loss was confirmed, we were referred to Hear and Say – and they’ve really been with us every step of the way ever since. From helping and supporting us through every audiology test, to talking us through hearing technology and speech therapy options, to the team consistently making themselves available to our family whenever needed.
Samantha said they had relished watching Finn become much more engaged with the people and the world around him, particularly considering he had “started this journey with virtually no sound at all”.
“While Hear and Say’s primary focus is on Finn’s communication skills and speech development, they’ve been an invaluable resource for us as parents too in helping us to build the strategies and skills we need to help Finn thrive. We honestly wouldn’t know what to do without them.”
Watch the special moment Finn’s cochlear implants were switched onto sound for the first time.
Timing with a snap lockdown in South-East Queensland, Finn’s switch-on took place at Queensland Children’s Hospital.