RACHELLE Cove never considered the possibility that her perfect newborn daughter Eden Mounsey-Cove was deaf.
But thanks to an insistent newborn hearing screener at Shoalhaven Hospital, the defect was picked up early, allowing the Gerroa family to get an advantage for their daughter that others may miss out on.
“She was very persistent and Eden was tested at just one day old, where they monitor a baby’s brain reaction to sound, and while it was a bit of a shock at first, it allowed us to move on with treatment,” Ms Cove said.
“After tests at Randwick Children’s Hospital, we had a two-week wait and when it was confirmed we had her fitted with hearing aids - at just seven weeks of age.
“Almost since then we have has weekly AVT (Auditory Verbal Therapy) sessions at the Shepherd Centre that teaches them how to hear.
“She has since had lots more tests, including coclear evaluation, which confirmed further hearing loss on the left side and we then had to decide whether to persevere with AVT or go ahead and get implants,” she said.
“I think the most important message to come out of this is the need to have those tests [known as Swish Screening], before they leave hospital – many parents, particularly those who have has children before, leave hospital without having the tests and that means a long delay before diagnosis and the child is a long way behind the rest from the start.”
On Wednesday, August 20, Eden underwent a five-hour operation to have the implants put in.
The new “ears” are to be switched on next Wednesday.
A cochlear implant (CI) is a surgically implanted electronic device that provides a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or severely hard of hearing.
Cochlear implants may help provide hearing in patients who are deaf because of damage to sensory hair cells in their cochlea.
In those patients, the implants often can enable sufficient hearing for better understanding of speech, meaning the quality of sound is different from natural hearing, with less sound information being received and processed by the brain. However, many patients are able to hear and understand speech and environmental sounds.
Newer devices and processing-strategies allow recipients to hear better in noise, enjoy music, and even use their implant processors while swimming.
Ms Cove said Eden leads a very active life, including ballet, swimming and attending an Early Childhood Centre in Berry and hopes the implants will allow her to continue to thrive.