AYDEN’S JOY COMES IN SURROUND SOUND
THE world is no longer a quiet place for Ayden Mann.
On July 1, the four- year- old boy had his cochlear implant switched on and now loves the sound of his own voice.
Running up the halls of Townsville Hospital yesterday, the kindergarten student screeched and smiled as he played. “He has always been incredibly active,” mum Rebecca Mann, of Mareeba, said. “He is also a lot louder now.”
Two children and three adults have now been fitted with cochlear implants at the hospital, the first of many patients expected to benefit from the new service. Previously, public patients had to travel to Brisbane for the implant and follow- up visits.
Ayden was one of the first beneficiaries of the new Townsville service and took part in his third round of auditory testing yesterday.
Mrs Mann said she first noticed Ayden’s hearing problems when he was about three years old. He was later diagnosed with Enlarged Vestibular Aqueduct Syndrome, a disorder which meant the little boy had very limited hearing.
“He had that initial reaction ... of surprise ( when the cochlear implant was switched on),” Mrs Mann said. doing very well.”
Cochlear implant surgeon Dr Shane Anderson said there were about 10 more patients going through a candidacy process for the implant.
“It’s a long, arduous process to work out who is a good candidate. It can take months,” he said.
“They have to be physically and psychologically ready and that’s why we have a whole team of social workers, psychiatrists, speech therapists and so on involved in the process.”
Dr Anderson said the team had initially estimated that they would conduct 14 implants a year.
“We will likely surpass that,” he said.
“This allows people to open up their world.”
Audiology consultant Dr Sree Aithal said patients were seen weekly for the first six weeks and it took some fine- tuning to get the implant right.
She said the younger the patient, the better the outcome.
Patients who have previously travelled to Brisbane are also being transferred to the Townsville service.
BEAUTIFUL NOISE: Ayden Mann, 4, with his mum Rebecca Mann, sporting his cochlear implant.