Having been born with a hearing loss, three-year-old Alice from Wynnum just loves her bi-lateral cochlear implants, or ‘new ears’ as she calls them.

Her parents Angelique and Jason first learned there might be something wrong with Alice’s hearing after her routine newborn hearing test produced an inconclusive result. Further tests in the following months confirmed Alice had severe to profound hearing loss in her right ear and mild hearing loss in her left ear.

More testing at the at the Queensland Children’s Hospital (QCH) ruled out genetic hearing loss but identified Cytomegalovirus (CMV) as the cause. CMV is a common viral infection (potentially 70-80% of Australians may have it at some stage in their life) which can impact on hearing, muscular and cognitive development and eyesight (to name of few). It is especially common among young children and congenital CMV occurs when the infection is passed across the placenta from a pregnant woman to her developing baby.

Angelique said waiting for all the test results and the fear of the unknown was very challenging.

“We received great support from Alice’s audiologist, Hearing Australia and the team from the Queensland Hearing Loss Family Support Service,” Angelique said.

“Because of the support, our family was able to make the decision for Alice to have bilateral cochlear implant surgery when she was 13 months.

“Alice loves sound and her desire to not miss out on anything in relation to her older brother is what helped her adapt so quickly to her implants.

“The support we’ve received from the Alice’s audiologist at the Queensland Children’s Hospital right from our very first appointment has been instrumental in Alice’s successful hearing journey and an incredible gift. Without her guidance and knowledge, our family would have been lost – she has changed Alice’s and our lives forever!”

The hospital’s speech pathologists have also worked extensively with Alice to improve her clarity of language. Alice is also supported through the Yeronga Early Intervention Centre, including Hear for Kids.

“It really does take a village to raise a child, but this is even more important with a child with a disability.

“We are surrounded by professionals who understand and continue to support Alice and our family to ensure we maximise the cochlear implants which will hopefully ensure our little princess will reach (and hopefully exceed) her potential.”

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