Implant makes a huge difference
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.
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’’.