It’s the classic science experiment that’s been thrilling students for decades: turning everyday pantry staples into an erupting volcano.
For Townsville’s six-year-old Thomas, the fizz and crackle of the mock explosion was heard loud and clear, thanks to the hearing aids he wears.
“The results of Thomas’ hearing tests in the hospital when he was born came back as a big shock, as we have no family history of hearing loss,” recalled Thomas’ mum, Samantha.
“Although I work in the health field as a physiotherapist, we still found it a daunting process looking at a long list of providers to choose from. I had a friend whose son has a hearing loss and remembered her mentioning Hear and Say, so thought that was a good place to start. We haven’t looked back since.”
When their daughter, Pippa was born two years later, Samantha and her husband, Martin knew there was a chance she would also have a hearing loss – and so were prepared when they were again told the news that their baby would also require similar support to her brother.
Years on, and the energetic siblings are growing up to reach whatever goals they set their minds to thanks to their dedicated family, hearing technology and specialist speech therapy support at Hear and Say’s Townsville centre.
In addition to his interest in explosive science experiments, Thomas loves getting out and being active – whether that’s swimming, riding his bike, or playing cricket and soccer. Both Thomas and Pippa also take after their dad, Martin and his love of music, and are learning to play the piano and cornet.
“I remember when Thomas was born we were unsure about what his hearing loss would mean for his ability to listen to and play music, as that’s a big part of our family life. However, we’re so grateful that technology allows Thomas and Pippa to experience and learn about music, just the same as their friends without hearing loss,” said Samantha.
“Pippa in particular loves to perform and put on a show, from dancing and singing to playing music and telling stories.”
Samantha said Hear and Say had played a significant role in building their children’s confidence – as well as her and Martin’s as parents.
“Hear and Say has been amazing with Thomas and Pippa and in many ways, their team feels like a part of the family. From being there to celebrate all the little wins and gains, to preparing and supporting them starting school – speech therapy at Hear and Say is a fun, relaxed experience with strong parent involvement. I’ve found this very helpful for replicating and practicing speech skills at home,” said Samantha.
“I don’t think it should ever be underestimated the impact of hearing ‘You’re doing a great job as a parent’. Hear and Say regularly recognises the hard work and persistence we have put in to help Thomas and Pippa achieve their goals, and it affirms that we made the right decision in choosing Hear and Say.”