How crucial check changed lives of hearing impaired twins
THE Campbell family from Dysart knows better than anyone else the importance of early identification when it comes to hearing loss.
Mum Renee found out her newborn twins Hugh and Thomas were born hearing impaired. Both children had severe-profound sensorineural hearing loss and would require bilateral cochlear implants.
The twins had their cochlear implants switched on at 16 months old and have had weekly sessions with an audiologist through Hear and Say's telepractice program since.
Now nearly five years old and having just started kindergarten, Hugh and Thomas are just like any other kids their age.
Hear and Say Listening and Spoken Language specialist Tracey Taylor visited the twins for in-person therapy sessions.
In light of Hearing Awareness Week, which runs until March 7, Ms Taylor encouraged Central Queenslanders of all ages to consider their hearing health and remain conscious of their state of hearing.
The Brisbane-based audiologist said the Campbell family's story highlighted how "crucial" early identification was, particularly for children.
"Hugh and Thomas were both identified early and they both received technology early, which is absolutely crucial," she said.
"That combination of early identification, technology and intervention has resulted in Hugh and Thomas developing with age appropriate language. They are now in kindy and have language skills just like their peers."
Ms Taylor said Hear and Say's telepractice program greatly helped the Campbell family, who didn't have access to specialised services where they lived.
The telepractice program allows Hear and Say to assist people with hearing loss who live in rural and remote areas of Queensland.
"The program involved auditory verbal therapy that is provided by highly trained professionals, either teachers of the deaf or speech pathologists who have done additional training," she said.
"The whole premise of our approach is that we are a parent training approach. We are able to upskill and coach parents to be their child's natural language teacher and this can all be done by telepractice.
"Children who receive intervention via telepractice can develop the same outcomes as children who receive face-to-face centre-based therapy."
She said hearing loss affected one in six Australians and was something people needed to be more aware about.
"It has huge impacts on your everyday life, whether you are a child or adult," she said.
"It is important to know what your hearing status is and have that confirmed, because it can change.
"Instances of hearing loss actually double by school age, so it is important that children entering Prep have their hearing tested and again in adolescence."
Ms Taylor said people could get their hearing tested by contacting an audiologist at their local clinic or hospital, or by visiting one of Hear and Say's five centres located across Queensland.
Hear and Say has centres in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba and Townsville, as well as outreach trips to Cairns.
She said families that lived in rural and remote areas of Queensland also had access to specialised services through Hear and Say's telepractice program.
For more information regarding Hear and Say's telepractice program or to book a hearing test, visit hearandsay.com.au or phone 3850 2111.