Bet­ter hearing hope for Ju­lian

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Health -

THE WA New­born Hearing Screening Pro­gram (NHS) cel­e­brated its 15th an­niver­sary re­cently with a two-day train­ing sem­i­nar at King Ed­ward Memo­rial Hospi­tal.

It was hosted by NHS co-or­di­na­tor Dr Mar­ian Bran­dreth, Telethon Speech and Hearing (TSH) se­nior au­di­ol­o­gist and Scan­medics clin­i­cal con­sul­tant Dr Kirsty Gardner-Berry.

The sem­i­nar, which in­cluded on­line and prac­ti­cal train­ing com­po­nents, also heard speak­ers such as Merle Klinger, whose son Ju­lian (2) was screened by the pro­gram and sub­se­quently di­ag­nosed with a per­ma­nent pro­found sen­sorineu­ral hearing im­pair­ment in both ears.

When her son was first di­ag­nosed with the im­pair­ment, Ms Klinger said she and her hus­band were in shock and dis­be­lief.

“It was the gen­tle but firm push for early in­ter­ven­tion, led by the Telethon Speech and Hearing Pro­gram Sup­port, that helped us and es­pe­cially me through those first few months post­birth, which were the most dif­fi­cult,” she said.

“In­stead of sit­ting at home wal­low­ing, an­other world was opened to us. A world for ba­bies with hearing im­pair­ments, as well as a pos­i­tive way for­ward to­wards over­com­ing the sen­sory loss.”

Ms Klinger said since be­ing in­volved with the pro­gram Ju­lian had im­proved tremen­dously.

“At six months of age, an MRI and CT scan per­formed at Princess Mar­garet Hospi­tal con­firmed that his in­ner ear anatomy was in­tact de­spite dam­age to the cochlea it­self,” she said.

She said the oper­a­tion took about four hours and was a success.

Picture: Martin Ken­nealey d453755

Merle Klinger and her son Ju­lian.

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