Bláthnaid loves playing with her kitchen and dolls, and her “babies” are very well dressed and fed! At two-years-old, Bláthnaid has many strings to her bow, she also enjoys playing on the trampoline with her brother and has a passion for music.

“She absolutely loves music, she will sing along to songs and dance whenever she hears a beat – everything from Metallica to the music on a TV ad,” said Vicki, Bláthnaid’s mum.

Blathnaid And Her Family

When Bláthnaid was just four days old her parents were told she failed her newborn hearing screen.

“From there, we had lots of referrals to various testing appointments. When she was around eight weeks old, it was flagged that the hearing loss was more than ‘just birth fluid’ and it was looking like a sensorineural hearing loss, with one ear having a more significant loss than the other,” said Vicki.

“I think ‘shock’ sums it up in one word! But as soon as we knew some things started to make more sense. She was very hard to settle, especially in the car – of course, she couldn’t hear us talking to her, playing music, trying to calm her. Only holding her helped, which isn’t possible when you are driving the car,” she said.

“Although we knew very early about Bláthnaid’s hearing loss, and she was fitted with a hearing aid when she was four and a half months old, it wasn’t until she was six months old that we finally found out what had caused her hearing loss.

“She was born with a condition called congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV), which she had contracted in utero. Once we had that diagnosis, there was a lot more testing to make sure the virus hadn’t caused other problems, such as lesions in her brain and enlarged organs.

“As a mum, I blamed myself and started to question whether I had done something wrong. But, that doesn’t get us anywhere and it certainly doesn’t help Bláthnaid,” said Vicki.

In late 2019 Bláthnaid’s hearing loss progressed and she was diagnosed as profoundly deaf in her left ear, and the hearing in her right ear continued to fluctuate. Following a series of testing, in June 2020 she underwent surgery for a cochlear implant for her left ear. 

“The change in her speech and development has been amazing to watch. Despite having to make such a terrifying decision, it was definitely the right thing to do,” said Vicki.

During their journey the family had started to come to Hear and Say for hearing tests, weekly speech therapy and after the surgery, cochlear implant programming too.

“Hear and Say have helped us through the transition from hearing aid to cochlear implant, they supported us to develop our knowledge around the changes in technology and also the additional speech supports Bláthnaid needed,” said Vicki.

Img Blathnaid

“We want Bláthnaid to live a happy life where her speech and language is developmentally on track with her peers, so that she can attend a mainstream school with her brother. We chose to have the cochlear implant fitted and undergo so much speech therapy so that this is a reality,” she said.

“When she is older, Bláthnaid might choose not to wear her cochlear implant and embrace the Deaf community, but we wanted to give her the options so she can choose herself.”

Hi Ue Illustration Bg

News

Get the latest updates...

Keep up-to-date with our latest news, information, events and more.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Logo

On demand

Professional development and parenting webinars are available any time; from the benefits of music, to mealtimes for fussy eaters, explore the wide range of topics.

2020-21 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.

Changing lives, together

Your gift will help deliver critical services, so babies born deaf can hear their parents say, “I love you.”

Changing Lives Together

2022 is our 30th birthday and we're inviting you to be part of our story by participating in our Giving Day.

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."

Cycling and hearing loss: staying safe on the roads

“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."

Share This

Select your desired option below to share a direct link to this page.
Your friends or family will thank you later.