Imagine a curious 5 month old with teething issues and two pretty pink moulds in her ears – the perfect chew toys. 

January Facebook post – First chomp of the hearing aids so out comes the pilot cap – so began Lexi’s pilot cap journey, even through hot summers.  She learnt how to untie the knots, she could get her fingers in so quickly and pull her aids out if the pilot cap was not tightly knotted, and even had scarring from a delightfully helpful sister pulling the cap off while Mum was driving.  And our main goal of each day – to ensure that Lexi hears the maximum amount of sounds and vocabulary in her waking hours as possible.

We got to know how fast their ears grew and initially we had appointments to have impressions every 4 weeks for new ear moulds. It is great that the focus is on making the hearing aids fun for kids. Lexi has loved being able to choose the colour of her moulds and now she likes to have one in pink and one in purple.

Lexi made a LOT of noise as a baby right through to toddler age – like a squawking bird. Constant monitoring by AV Therapist Chris of Lexi’s for age appropriate progress showed that she was slightly behind with her babble sounds emerging at 10 months, put down in part to her excessively loud guttural growls and partly to constantly refusing to keep her hearing aids in. 

The therapy was crucial in developing Lexi’s brain to respond to sounds. It means talking all the time. It was our job to make sure there was running commentary when small and large sounds were heard, when identifying objects and then expanding on the words associated with them. We were constantly talking which came naturally for her father!

We understand that we will always need to be aware of the sounds around us, attempting to control background noise so that their hearing aids are most effective. Our therapist has also encouraged us to continually bring lots of language to the Lexi by reading, singing and telling stories.

At around 3 years, the middle ear issues started with many colds and bouts of tonsillitis that comes from being at child care.  Blocked ears from wax was also an issue as the hearing aids stop the natural removal of earwax.  Fluid behind the ear drum which then had a considerable further impact on her following conversations and instructions – we knew it wasn’t just because of her independent attitude. We had amazing support from the audiologist at the Cora Barclay Centre  would make quick decision .

One day we had an appointment with her ENT at Womens and Children's Hospital and in less than 24 hours she was in the Memorial Hospital for grommets in both ears at 3 years 4 months which helped her get back on track with conversation in background noise.

She was so proud the first time she put her hearing aids on by herself – advanced at age 4.  She is also quick to tell us when they aren’t working. This is a skill that Cora Barclay Centre helped to teach Lexi. Then she got waterproof hearing aids and has totally adopted them in the bath, at the pool and beach. 

A quick story; one morning this year, she grabbed her waterproof aids to put in.  Next thing, she is out telling Mum with tears that they are in the toilet.  Mum freaked out and checked the toilet but no sign.  Unfortunately Lexi was ‘busting’ for the toilet, put the aids on the top of the cistern and then flushed at the end – with one falling in as she flushed – to her horror and ours!!

The Cora Barclay Centre is amazing not only for children but also for parents with personal support never hard to find. We could connect with staff easily, they are always available, always interested and ready to provide counselling and support whenever we need it.

As parents, we did not want limits placed on our hearing impaired children. We chose the path of listening and speaking for our girls and because of this philosophy, the Cora Barclay Centre really appealed to us. In our weekly therapy sessions we have learnt so much about developing our girls listening and speaking skills. It is so much fun for us using play to focus on tuning their brains to sound and developing their speech.

We love that many people say that you would not know that Lexi is deaf because she has excellent language and speech. It shows us that choosing the Centre’s fabulous program and their highly qualified and passionate staff was a great decision made at a bewildering time and putting it into practice has truly been worth it. 

Thank you so much for supporting the Cora Barclay Centre! 

Natalie & Shane
Lexi's Mum and Dad

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