With the warmer weather ramping up, there’s no happier place for one-year-old Eden than being down at the beach with her parents, Lani and Liam and beloved dog, Brooklyn.
For this Sunshine Coast family, the greatest gift this festive season is watching their daughter react with glee hearing Brooklyn’s excited bark, or the crash of waves onto the sand. It’s moments like these, said Lani, which felt next to impossible they found out Eden had hearing loss soon after she was born.
Bouncing from appointment to appointment in the early days, Lani recalled trying to come to grips with a diagnosis of hearing loss that at first turned their lives upside down.
“Eden was only five weeks old when we saw the hospital audiologist and found out she had a hearing loss. I was fearful, and devastated to think that she may never hear my voice,” said Lani.
“Getting diagnosed is a very open-ended process, which kept us hopeful but also made us feel overwhelmed. Our family asked us questions like, ‘What does this mean? What treatment is available?’, and we just couldn’t answer them,” added Liam.
“We wanted to give Eden the same options as any kid gets, and have everything available to her. It was then incredibly comforting to come to Hear and Say and know they would be there every step of the way. There was a clear pathway ahead for her to be able to hear and speak.”
This Christmas, Liam said Eden will be listening to their delight as she unwraps presents, babbling away as her family cooks up a big feast, and singing along to favourite tunes – precious traditions her family is thrilled she can fully take part in.
“My brothers and I are quite musical, so at Christmas we sit around the piano or guitar and play carols. We’re so excited for Eden to experience hearing that as well – and maybe she’ll be playing an instrument herself one day!” said Liam.
Lani and Liam were just some of the hundreds of couples who this year faced the unexpected news that their baby was born with hearing loss. The first-time parents credited the support of Hear and Say’s Sunshine Coast centre for helping them through the life-changing time, which was mixed with the already tough challenges of the pandemic.
“Hear and Say has made an amazing difference to our lives, and their team has made what initially felt like quite a devastating and isolating year ahead, flow with such ease,” said Lani.
“Eden is now developing her speech and language at a similar rate to other children her age, and we couldn’t be more thankful,” said Lani.