Fourteen-year-old Vivek most definitely fits the bill of an allrounder, he loves all kinds of sport, from cricket to soccer and even volleyball; he also enjoys music, playing the piano and signing in the choir at school. Additionally, in an almost unheard-of turn-of-events for a teenage boy, Vivek likes everything to be neat and in order, including his desk and room… no complaints from his parents here!
When Vivek was one year old and living with his family in India, he was diagnosed with profound hearing loss. As newborn hearing screening was not commonplace it took 12 months before the family received this diagnosis.
Vivek had an eventful start to his life – getting his cochlear implant at one and a half years old, and then moving to Brisbane shortly after.
“A frantic Google search for cochlear implant support brought us to Hear and Say. Being new to the country, in very unfamiliar circumstances, the support and understanding we received from the team was a blessing to say the least,” said Bindu, Vivek’s mum.
“I get goose bumps every time I drive past the original centre location; I tear up when I tell the story of how we found Hear and Say and the wonderful staff that helped Vivek to hear and speak.
“From responding to puppets playing hide and seek at our cochlear implant programming sessions, to learning cooking vocabulary in speech therapy lessons, Vivek blossomed through those initial years,” said Bindu.
At three years old Vivek got his second cochlear implant.
“Despite delays in getting his first and his second implant, Vivek was vocal and ready for kindy by the time he was four years old.
“We were lucky once again and had extremely supportive and diligent kindy teachers. Vivek continued to build his vocabulary, stringing words into sentences, he also learnt to count, sing and write,” said Bindu.
Thanks to the hard work of his family, his cochlear implants, and specialised speech therapy, Vivek started school at five years old, alongside his peers – in fact he was the youngest in his grade.
Vivek continued to grow confidence, speech, comprehension, reasoning and his ability to advocate for himself.
“There are so many things we are so proud of Vivek for, when he spoke at the Power of Speech event at the National Press Club in Canberra at six years old, when he spoke at the International Audiology Conference in Brisbane with Graham Clarke (inventor of the cochlear implant) in the audience, seeing him take part in choir, excelling at debating at school, being a Student Ambassador in year six, going to camps independently, and his participation in swimming,” said Bindu.
Bindu reflects on the importance of being able to hear, and what this has meant for her son.
“It is hard to imagine what life would have been for Vivek without the excellent support he received from Hear and Say by way of audiology programming, specialised speech therapy and guidance on using cochlear implant correctly,” said Bindu.
“Hear and Say will always be Vivek’s life-long partners. The impact they’ve had, especially the love, care and professionalism of the staff, was evident when Vivek recently expressed a desire to consider audiology as a career option.”