kids

"I felt so guilty." Kylie's seven-year-old daughter's hearing problem went undetected for years.

Kylie and Dalio describe their seven-year-old daughter, Elyse as having a lovable, funny and cheeky persona that people warm to instantly. This bubbly nature and loud personality are qualities that they adore about their daughter. They were also the same qualities that meant Elyse’s hearing problems went undetected for years.

Although Kylie wasn’t 100 per cent sure, she had an inkling something wasn’t quite right with Elyse’s hearing; it was noticing that Elyse was mispronouncing words, especially those starting with an ‘h’ sound, (which is a low sound for the human ear to detect) that made her take notice. “She wasn’t developing as her older sibling, Abbey, had done previously,” Kylie told Mamamia. “I had a faint suspicion that perhaps Elyse had a hearing loss.”

“I remember speaking to Elyse and having to repeat everything three times,” she said.

“I would say, “Put your shoes on”, in a normal tone but with no response from Elyse I’d ask again louder. By the third time, I’d be raising me voice!”

elyse and kylie
“I remember speaking to Elyse and having to repeat everything three times." Image: Supplied.

But it wasn’t until they tried an App, Sound Scouts, specifically created to detect hearing problems in children that Kylie’s suspicions were confirmed.

Sound Scouts is a mobile game technology that tests children’s hearing but does it as part of a fun, interactive game that children enjoy, without kids even realising they are having their hearing tested.

Once Elyse has completed the test, she was shown to have hearing issues but despite Kylie’s inkling, this news still came as a shock. "I felt so guilty that I hadn't picked up on her having hearing issues sooner. We just thought she had a loud personality, we didn’t realise she couldn’t hear properly.”

Once a diagnosis was made, Elyse was then referred to Australian Hearing where audiologists performed further assessments and confirmed that Elyse had a mild conductive hearing loss, which is caused by a blockage or damage in the outer and/or middle ear. After a visit to an Ear Nose Throat specialist, Elyse was diagnosed with Glue Ear and a month following this diagnosis, her ears were fitted with grommets and her hearing improved. “Hearing is very important, so having my grommets meant the world to me,” Elyse said.

Studies show loud music can cause damage to young ears in just minutes. Here are a few ways to prevent that. Post continues below...

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Although Elyse has received a diagnosis and subsequent treatment to assist her hearing condition, there are many Australian children that are not so lucky. In fact, research has shown that one in five (18 per cent) parents have either never had their child’s hearing tested or are unsure if they have (Pure Profile. Survey of 1,000 Australian parents with children aged 4-14 years old. February 2019.)

According to Australian Hearing, hearing issues can develop at any age, so it’s important to be aware of the key signs displayed by a child if they have a hearing problem.

These include:

  • Losing focus in noisy places
  • Trouble pronouncing words
  • Speaking loudly
  • Learning difficulties at school

As a part of Hearing Awareness Week from March 3- 9, a new grant of $4 million through the Department of Health was announced, enabling Australian Hearing to deliver free online hearing tests through the Sound Scouts app. This is critical given many children’s hearing loss is not picked up until they are well into their schooling.

“I recommend all parents of children with pre-schoolers or K-3, to test their child's hearing with Sound Scouts, as it's so easy to use and administer and it could significantly help their child's development in the long run. Elyse still asks to play on it just for fun." Kylie said.

It was one simple test but for Elyse it has meant not falling behind at school or developmentally, allowing her to reach her full potential.

Sound Scouts is available now to download from the App Store and on Google Play. You can find out more information about Sound Scouts right here.

Shona Hendley is a freelance writer from Victoria. An ex secondary school teacher, Shona has a strong interest in education. She is an animal lover and advocate, with a morbid fascination for true crime and horror movies. Shona is usually busy writing and raising her children: two goats, two cats and two humans. You can follow her on Instagram.

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