By MELISSA CROTTY
That day my husband Shaun and I looked across at each other, speechless. Neither of us had seen this one coming.
Amara, our eldest daughter, had just undergone extensive screening for hearing loss at an early intervention centre in Melbourne and we had just been told she had hearing loss.
Just like all parents who see their child for the first time, we fell head over heels in love as soon as we saw Amara. She passed all the newborn screening tests with flying colours, and we – two proud as punch parents – took our brand new daughter home feeling that nothing could go wrong with the world.
It wasn’t until some probing from the maternal nurse a few weeks later that the possibility that Amara having hearing loss even occurred to us.
Amara was diagnosed with a mild-moderate hearing loss at eight weeks of age at Taralye, a not-for-profit organisation providing early intervention services to children with hearing loss, teaching them to listen and speak.
Being confronted with the fact that your child cannot hear as other children can isn’t an uncommon experience. Most parents (around 92%) that give birth to children with hearing loss have (?good) hearing themselves.
Suddenly, there you are, thrust into a situation you don’t understand with a rollercoaster of emotions that you probably wouldn’t have encountered otherwise. Will my child do well in school, will they build normal friendships at school, and will I ever hear them say “Mummy” for the first time?
At twelve weeks Amara was fitted with hearing aids at Australian Hearing. She loved her hearing aids from the first moment she put them on. Shaun and I can’t remember what we first said to Amara when she could actually hear us, but her face lit up with the brightest smile that we knew hearing aids had been the right decision.
From that day on Shaun, Amara and I actively engaged in Taralye’s early intervention program, commuting 40 minutes to Taralye four times a week so that Amara could learn how to listen and speak. We could see over the next few months how much Amara’s confidence was blooming, how much more connected she was with us and her environment.