Im­plant makes a huge dif­fer­ence

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By DANIELLE STREET

Lit­tle Fin­ley Tu­taka-Brown seemed like a dif­fi­cult baby.

‘‘She was re­ally hard work,’’ her mother Kerri re­calls.

‘‘We never re­ally liked to take her any­where be­cause she ap­peared to be quite badly be­haved.’’

On top of the tricky be­hav­iour Fin­ley wasn’t talk­ing like her preschool peers and Mrs Tu­takaBrown had the feel­ing that some­thing wasn’t quite right.

Then, early last year a se­ries of hear­ing tests re­vealed that Fin­ley is pro­foundly deaf.

‘‘‘Ini­tially I though ‘this is the worst thing that could hap­pen’ and I didn’t know how she was go­ing to get on in life,’’ Mrs Tu­taka-Brown says.

Af­ter tak­ing some time to deal with the news, the Mt Al­bert fam­ily con­sid­ered the op­tions for Fin­ley and de­cided cochlear im­plants were the right choice.

‘‘‘We wanted her to be in the hear­ing world, we don’t know any­one that’s deaf and the thought that if she had to sign, it would limit who she could com­mu­ni­cate with in our fam­ily.’’

A cochlear im­plant is a sur­gi­cally im­planted elec­tronic de­vice that pro­vides a sense of sound to a per­son who is se­verely hard of hear­ing or pro­foundly deaf.

In New Zealand chil­dren who have pro­found hear­ing loss re­ceive one govern­ment funded cochlear im­plant.

Fin­ley’s fam­ily set them­selves the task of fundrais­ing $45,000 for a sec­ond im­plant, so she could have the use of both ears.

The im­plants were switched on in May 2012.

‘‘Once we were able to com­mu­ni­cate with her more ef­fec­tively she be­came much hap­pier. She was like dif­fer­ent child,’’ Mrs Tu­taka-Brown says.

‘‘Now she sings and dances and talks all the time it’s just amaz­ing.’’

Fin­ley now at­tends au­di­to­ryver­bal ther­apy at The Hear­ing House in Green­lane once a week.

There she works hard get­ting her lan­guage up to speed for start­ing school next year.

‘‘It’s also about teach­ing me so I know what to do when we get home and I can share that with my hus­band and her grand­par­ents,’’ Mrs Tu­taka-Brown says.

Pho­tos: DANIELLE STREET

Great lis­tener: Kerri Tu­taka-Brown says Fin­ley, 3, trans­formed af­ter be­ing in­tro­duced to the hear­ing world last year.

Taringa: Fin­ley calls her cochlear im­plants her ‘‘spe­cial ears’’.

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