A routine newborn screening test identified a potential issue with Micah’s hearing when he was just four days old. Further audiology testing then confirmed he had profound permanent hearing loss in both ears caused by a mutation in the connexin 26 gene. This is the most common cause of congenital sensorineural hearing loss.
Micah’s mum Amber said the news of Micah’s hearing loss was a pivotal moment for their family.
“We experienced so many emotions and grieved at the thought of our son not being able to hear our voices. The future we had envisaged for our family instantly changed course”.
After months of rigorous testing, Micah qualified as a strong candidate for cochlear implants which would allow him to hear the world around him and the opportunity, with the help of therapy, to improve his speech.
In June 2021, while the world was dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, Micah underwent his cochlear implant surgery at the Queensland Children’s Hospital, one month before his first birthday.
A few weeks after his surgery, Micah heard sounds for the first time (he reacted to their family dog, Willow barking), and three months later, he was able to say his first word, mum.
Since his surgery, Micah and his family have been working with speech pathologists in at the Queensland Children’s Hospital and the Yeerongpilly Early Childhood Development program to teach him how to listen, speak and sign in Auslan.
Now 22 months on, Micah continues to attend weekly Auslan playgroup sessions with dedicated Auslan Language Models and participates in individual sessions with a Teacher of the Deaf.
Micah’s family were determined that he would be able to communicate with spoken language in combination with Auslan. “Giving him the chance to develop and grow in both the Deaf and hearing communities means he has the power of choice in how he lives his life” Amber said.
“Micah has adapted seamlessly to the challenges of his condition because he has been fortunate to receive the support he needs from an early age.”
“Micah will always be deaf, but he isn’t broken – he’s perfect in every way,” Amber said.
Amber said the whole family feels supported and reassured that Micah’s future is in good hands.
“Learning a new language, such as Auslan can seem overwhelming, however, with the right support and being around like-minded families, the journey is part of the rich tapestry of life”
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