Aaron is like any other bright and energetic three year old boy, busy exploring and enjoying the world. He loves monster cars and his sisters.
But Aaron hears the world very differently.….
Not passing the new born hearing test was a huge shock to Aaron’s mum Jennifer.
Some children have risk factors for hearing loss, but about half of all children born with a hearing loss have no known risk factors – Aaron was one of these children.
Aaron’s mum Jennifer shares her story:
Aaron was just a newborn when his hearing impairment was discovered, we were devastated, we had no children in the family who had hearing loss, and it came as such a shock.
Aaron was born with a mild to moderate hearing loss in his left ear and moderate to severe hearing loss in his right ear. Nothing could have prepared me for that news.
Getting his first pair of hearing aids at four months old, he appeared to be responding well to them, but when he was around one I started to notice a change. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what was different. Everyone told me I was being paranoid and nothing was wrong, ‘his hearing aids are working fine…’ they said.
A year passed, Aaron now two years old was not responding to me anymore. I would call his name ‘Aaron, Aaron look at Mum’ and he wouldn’t turn around. Surely it just had to be a problem with the hearing aids?
This is when I insisted that his hearing be retested.
The hearing test confirmed what I had been dreading. Aarons hearing loss had gotten worse, far worse than I had expected – Aaron was now profoundly deaf.
Being profoundly deaf meant that Aaron could not hear anything and hearing aids were pointless. I felt so terrible knowing he was living in silence and that I should have listened to my intuition when I started to notice the change in him.
Once again I was grieving; no one else really understood what I was going through as a parent. I was given two options for Aaron, that he grow up profoundly deaf and communicate using Australian Sign Language (Auslan) - or we see if he meets the criteria for a cochlear implants.
For me the choice was easy, I wanted Aaron to be able to communicate with everyone and live life to its fullest potential, that’s why I chose for Aaron to have surgery and be fitted with cochlear implants, the sooner the better!
We had no idea what Aaron’s quality of hearing would be like with the cochlear implants - it was a huge risk, but the longer Aaron couldn’t hear the further his speech and development would be delayed.
Aaron was fitted with two cochlear implants in October last year. On his switch on day we were so nervous, when the cochlear implants were turned on Aaron looked at us strangely, we spoke, then a little smile appeared and his face just lit up. I felt so happy, I had my little boy back.
We know it isn’t an easy road ahead though and I realised I couldn’t do this alone, that’s when I found Can:Do 4Kids.
People tend to stare and at the moment, he’s not aware- but we are. It‘s hard because I just want the best for him I want him not to feel different to his siblings or other kids. I’m worried about when school starts, how people, other children will respond to him, especially education wise - I don’t want him to struggle to hear the teacher over the other kids.
From the first appointment Can:Do 4Kids were great, and Aaron just adores his speech therapist Kathryn. I don’t know what we would have done without her. Aaron is finally making progress, he faces many challenges every day, making friends and socialising with children his own age but we know that with the help of Can:Do 4Kids Aaron will be ready to make the most out of his abilities before he starts school.
“Since the cochlear was switched on Aaron has been progressing - he is learning to listen and speak with the help of Can:Do 4Kids, and he just adores his speech therapist Kathryn.”
Kids like Aaron need your help. To ensure he is ready to make the most of his abilities, Aaron will need over 100 hours of vital speech therapy before he even starts school. Can:Do 4Kids need to fundraise more than $70 for each hour of specialist therapy we provide.