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Nothing gets in the way of Max doing his favourite things – from playing sport to riding his bike and scooter, to doing gymnastics and playing board games with his 10-year-old sister, Chels. He ultimately wants to grow up and play cricket for the Brisbane Heat one day!

When Max was four years old, his parents Sally and Phil, took him to the doctor for his routine immunisations, only to find out he had a hearing loss in one ear. This surprising news made it quite an emotional day for Max and his family.

Img Max And Chels At The Park

“It took so long to diagnose because Max didn’t know any better. He thought silence in his right ear was how it was supposed to be,” Sally said.

Max was fitted with a CROS hearing aid for 12 months while Sally and Phil decided what was the best option for Max long-term, ultimately deciding that the cochlear implant was the way to go. Max underwent cochlear implant candidacy which involved a magnitude of testing to ensure he was a good fit for the implant.

In January 2019, at five years old, Max received a cochlear implant, which was switched on at Hear and Say’s Brisbane Centre one week later, changing his world forever.

“The switch on was certainly a milestone moment but it’s been the moments at home where he has heard things that he hadn’t heard before that have been really special,” Sally said.

Phil and Sally have been grateful for the support that Hear and Say have provided not only to Max but to their whole family.

“Max’s hearing loss is not just Max’s issue, it’s ours as a family. Hear and Say have provided us with a community of people that continue to help us on this journey. And they have helped us with the bigger things, something that is so overwhelming and unexpected and made it easier to break it all down, normalise it.” said Sally.

Max is now eight years old and continues to visit Hear and Say fortnightly for specialist speech therapy where he works on his listening and speaking skills.

“Max is progressing really well, his ability to focus and learn in each lesson continues to improve and the outcomes we are seeing are very positive,” Phil said.

“Max is loving school and is performing really well. This cochlear implant is helping him to be able to hear in what would have been very challenging situations, such as a noisy classroom. His ability to communicate and engage with his mates in the playground is further enhanced due to his implant.”

Max and his family have also been absolute superstars with no shortage of enthusiasm coming from sibling duo, Max and Chels, who have continually channelled their incredible efforts into the noisiest cause of all, Loud Shirt Day.

“I like being part of Loud Shirt Day because it raises money for other families, and we get to dress up and make our own loud shirts,” said Max.

Img Max And Chels With Tania Wearing Loud Shirts

“It’s also great to get to help other kids that maybe haven’t been diagnosed and need more support in their life. We know how hard it is to go through the challenges, as a family. Hear and Say help families learn more about hearing loss and give support,” added Chels.

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Online learning

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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.

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

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