Boy benefits from gift of sound
Three-year-old Owen Jia of Golflands is a lively boy who likes to play harmonica and with his toy train.
He and his mum Jennifer are among the champions of Loud Shirt Day on September 29, the annual appeal for The Hearing House and the Southern Cochlear Implant Programme.
The cochlear implants, which Owen received when six months old, have become like a natural part of his body.
As well as going to kindergarten, he attends auditory-verbal therapy classes at The Hearing House with his mother once a month.
His hearing loss was picked up when he was born - profound hearing loss in the left ear and a high-frequency loss in the right - but he now speaks both English and Mandarin Chinese.
‘‘If it wasn’t for The Hearing House, without the ongoing help from the therapists, we could never provide sufficient help by just talking to him,’’ Jennifer says.
‘‘People should be aware of the changes cochlear implants and the charities’ services bring to a child.
‘‘Life would become much easier for them when they can play and communicate with other kids in the kindergarten.’’
Owen is one of hundreds of children who get help from the organisations. The Hearing House works with children from Turangi to the top of the North Island, and Southern Cochlear covers the rest of the country. While the services are pro- vided for free to families, they rely heavily on public donations to be delivered.
The Hearing House’s fundraising and communications manager Melanie Louden calls on people to get involved and help change the lives of deaf and hearing-impaired children.
‘‘The more people that sign up, the bigger difference these two awesome organisations can make in the lives of deaf and hearingimpaired Kiwi kids.
‘‘We’re grateful for every bit of support that enables us to help parents give their child the gift of sound and the spoken word,’’ she says.
Loud Shirt Day has a beach theme this year. Visit loudshirtday.org.nz for more information and register to hold a fundraising event.
Owen Jia and his mum Jennifer. The Hearing House helps him enjoy sounds and the spoken word.