Mikaylah’s hearing loss no barrier to learning during Hearing Awareness Week

Mikaylah enjoys taking part in group activities and these help to develop her speech and language

Mikaylah is receiving support for her hearing loss from the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC) during Hearing Awareness Week, 25 - 31 August, 2013

Access to technology and skilled early intervention remain key to ensuring children with hearing loss reach their full potential. Newborns identified with hearing loss get the best possible start to life when they, and their families, receive immediate support and assistance through quality early intervention.

On average, one Australian child is identified with hearing loss every day. Mikaylah was diagnosed with hearing loss at birth and is currently developing her speech and language with a cochlear implant and hearing aid as well as support from RIDBC Nepean Preschool, Glenmore Park.

“Mikaylah was fitted with two hearing aids not long after she was diagnosed,” said Mikaylah’s mother, Sue.

“After a year, Mikaylah’s hearing deteriorated and she received a cochlear implant in her left ear when she was two, and it was the best thing we could have done. She is now developing speech just like any other little girl.”

“I know Mikaylah can go on and do whatever she wants to do – she will speak and communicate just like anyone else and she’s really confident with her hearing loss. Most of her hearing friends now want a cochlear implant because she’s sold the idea to them! That confidence has come from RIDBC’s support.”

At three, Mikaylah began attending RIDBC Nepean Preschool, which Sue says her daughter loves.

“It’s fantastic because it’s a reverse integration preschool, so children from the community attend and are language and learning models for those with hearing or vision loss. The fact that Mikaylah can get the support she needs in a ‘normal’ preschool environment is an incredible advantage, socialising with her peers really encourages her to achieve,” said Sue.

RIDBC assists over 3000 children with significant hearing or vision loss, and their families, across Australia.

RIDBC relies heavily on fundraising and community support to be able to continue to make a difference in children's lives.  In order to maintain its intensive educational and research programs, the organisation needs to raise approximately $2.5 million every month.