LOCAL LIFE: Sunshine Coast mum shines a light on Loud Shirt Day

14 October 2018

Friday October 19 is Loud Shirt Day - a national initiative supported by not-for-profit organisation, Hear and Say, that seeks to provide hearing impaired children in Australia the intervention, support, and technology required in order to reach their full potential.

Queenslanders are invited to frock up and get loud by hosting their own fundraising fiesta with their family, in their workplace or with friends on Friday, October 19 to raise funds for children with hearing loss.

In Queensland, up to 180 children will be born with hearing loss every year with the cost to support these children averaging around $10,000 each year, for up to six years.

Clancy from the Sunshine Coast was born with microtia and atresia. His mum Emma McDonald chats to us about their experience and what the future holds...

Can you tell us how it felt when you discovered Clancy had conductive hearing loss, when he was just two days old?

There was a lot of emotions swirling around, as to be expected when having a newborn. The first two days were spent having ultra sounds, x-rays and other checkups to ensure that he was otherwise healthy. It was pretty intense, once we found out what the condition was called we did the classic Google doctor, it’s never a good idea. Once Clancy passed his healthy hearing in his left ear, we were a lot more at ease.

And what is conductive hearing loss?

A conductive hearing loss is where there is something blocking the sound from getting in to the auditory nerve and cochlea, so for Clancy he doesn’t have an outer ear or an ear canal. This condition called microtia and atresia and research shows it occurs in 1–6000 births worldwide.

What was the journey like from there, to get him fitted with a hearing aid?

We can’t fault the public health care system, we had a wonderful audiologist at SCUH who saw Clancy when he was three weeks, five weeks and seven weeks old. She actually was the one told us about Hear and Say and the annual Microtia and Atresia conference they hold. From then we were referred to the Lady Cilentro and we had two appointments at the hearing clinic with the doctors, Australian Hearing and a speech pathologist. Clancy was fitted with his baha hearing aid at just over two months old.

What is his life like now he has the hearing aid fitted?

We were told we might not notice a difference because he has hearing in his left ear, but we can tell he is so much more alert when he has his hearing aid on. He lights up, he has just started to turn his head when I call his name, it is such a delight to see. I honestly can’t believe the difference it is making for him.

And what is life like for the family today?

Having three little ones under four years old, you can imagine it is a mad house at times! But we have treated Clancy the same as we did with our other two kiddies. He has his brother and sister wrapped around his little finger, they are great at pushing his hearing aid headband back into place when it falls down. If anything, having Clancy has made us appreciate our country more, the health care systems we have available, the support we have received just blows my mind. We are so blessed!

What support was there for you during that difficult time, and what support is there now for children with hearing loss?

Honestly we had so much support and advice given to us by one of the psychologists who were assigned to our family that we actually had to think long and hard to decide what avenue we wanted to go down and what was going to best suit our family’s needs. We decided to go with the Hear and Say program, as we have seen and heard a lot of great reports about the therapy they use for children with hearing loss.

What does the future hold for Clancy?

For the next few years we will be focusing on ensuring Clancy is reaching his milestones and helping him learn to listen and to speak. When Clancy is about two and a half we will start to look at surgery options, ear reconstruction and possibly ear canal surgery that can take place if he is eligible when he is four years old.

What are you doing to support Loud Shirt Day?

Cupcakes in the park! I knew I wanted to show my support for Hear and Say but being busy with the kids and also having my husband FIFO I knew I was limited to what I could do well. So, I decided to do a play date at the local duckponds in Gympie and asked Heaven Leigh Cupcakes if they would do what they do best and bake some delicious cupcakes for the morning. They generously donated a large number of cupcakes on the day! I made some playdough for the kids and made up little thank you bags for the mums who came along, it was nice and simple, and an absolute hoot!

loud shirt morning tea

Raising funds for Loud Shirt Day is as simple as wearing your weirdest and wackiest shirt, dyeing your hair an outrageous colour, dressing up in an outlandish outfit, or simply making a commitment to getting loud for deaf kids.



Written by

Kids on the Coast/Kids in the City
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