Discovering a meaningful world of sound
Anchored aid helps 5 kids to hear
SEVEN- YEAR- OLD Olono Sajini spent most of his young life unable to hear a thing. But now, thanks to a bone-anchored hearing aid provided by the Red Cross Children’s Hospital, he is looking forward to a new year in which he will have a whole new world to explore.
Olono was among five children who received an anchored hearing aid recently.
They were suffering various conditions that resulted in a partial loss of hearing, ranging from being born without ear canals, chronic ear infections or, in Olono’s case, a benign growth that eroded the bones in his ear that conduct sound.
The hearing aid, attached to his head via a small screw or a headband, has given Olono back the hearing in his right ear.
He said that what it’s meant was a familiar but entirely different world.
“I can hear when my mom talks to me, and everything seems new with sound, even if I’ve seen it a hundred times. I can watch TV now and love to watch films and cartoons after school.”
His mother, Nancy Sajini, said she was relieved her son would be able to go to school like any other child in the new year.
“The hearing aid has given me a whole new relationship with my son, one where we can talk together and understand each other much better. I’m so glad that he will be able to have a normal life.”
Red Cross specialist Dr Estie Meyer said the growth in Olono’s ears nearly made its way into his brain, which could have led to his death.
“He grew up in the Eastern Cape and didn’t have any proper medical care. His condition led to the deterioration of his hearing, and could have caused meningitis or a brain abscess if it had been treated any later.”
Olono would undergo further surgery to correct the hearing in his left ear, and if he was lucky, might be able to get a normal hearing aid.
“When he gets older we may do away with the strap around his head and just mount the hearing aid to his skull with a small screw.”
The four other children have also been recovering well. A six-year-old girl born without ear canals could not hear her mother’s voice, and had struggled to speak properly.
Meyer said this was due to her partial deafness – the little girl was able hear only 50 percent of words properly, resulting in her mispronouncing or skipping some letters.
“It will take time, but now that she can hear she is well on her way to recovery. These children can live normal lives now.
“They can listen to music and do things we just take for granted.”
Little Olono has a long road ahead of him before he will be able to hear completely – if ever. But he has taken his first few steps into a new world filled with sound, and he’s loving every minute of it.
NEW WORLD: Life has changed completely for Nancy Sajini and her seven-year-old son Olono since the little boy was given an anchored hearing aid six weeks ago. Olono has just finished grade R and will be able to go to a normal school next year.