Lifestyle

Leni’s brave new hearing world

BANDAGES: Leni just after the operation. Craig Warhurst
BANDAGES: Leni just after the operation. Craig Warhurst

A BABY hears its first sound while still in utero. At first it's the methodical beat of its mother's heart, then noises from outside the womb. It's the start of the unborn child's ability to understand and interpret noise.

Children like Gympie's Leni Innis, who are born deaf, miss out on the important developmental period, but thankfully modern technology is helping to open up their world of sound.

Leni is the beautiful daughter of David Innis and Tarsha Johnstone.

At 20 months she is just starting to understand the now-noisy environment around her after undergoing surgery to receive two cochlear implants

Leni's surgery was in late February.

Two weeks later the implants were turned on.

Tarsha said it was a special time for David and her after the traumatic experience of finding out something was wrong with their child.

Doctors picked up Leni was deaf early due to the newborn Healthy Hearing screening program.

About two in every 1000 babies born in Queensland are born with severe or profound hearing loss.

After myriad tests and visiting specialists Leni was fitted with hearing aids at just four months old. Doctors investigated if she was a suitable candidate for cochlear implants.

Tarsha said that when a family decided to investigate the option of a cochlear implant, the child had a comprehensive medical, audiological evaluation.

The evaluation consists of functional listening assessments and formal speech and language testing at the Hear and Say Centre in Brisbane.

At $25,000 each the implants aren't cheap and just when they got the good news Leni was a suitable candidate there were fears the State Government was running low on funds for implants.

Thankfully the money was there and Leni was fitted with her bionic ears in a three-hour operation.

For the "switch on", Tarsha and David invited the extended family to the Hear and Say Centre.

She said the staff at the centre welcomed them with open arms.

"It was lovely," Tarsha said.

One of the keen observers was Leni's grandmother, Daph Innis.

She said watching Leni hear her first sound when the implant was turned on was an emotional experience.

"She turned her head looked up at David and smiled at him," Daph said.

"It was very special."

Tarsha said for the first time she could actually see Leni responding to voices.

"I could see her actually processing the sound," Tarsha said.

"She looks at us now, before she had no reason to look at us and she is vocalising a lot more."

Although Leni can now hear, she still has a long hard road in front of her.

"People expect when you put the implants in it's away you go," Tarsha said.

"It's a lot of work and takes time.

"Other babies have been hearing from in the womb. Leni has a hearing age of less than five months.

"Some kids catch up and others need more help."

That's where the Hear and Say Centre comes in.

Tarsha, David and Leni journey south along the Bruce weekly to therapy at the Nambour Hear and Say Centre.

They also track the performance of the implants called mapping.

The term mapping is used to refer to the programming of the speech processor in the bionic ear and the "map" is the level of electrical stimulation needed for the electrodes to activate the hearing nerve in the brain.

At first the bionic ear was "turned down" and with each visit it is adjusted to get Leni used to being able to hear.

She will receive ongoing support for the cochlear implant at the Hear and Say Centre for as long as needed.

"The people at the Hear and Say Centre are beautiful," Tarsha said.

"Amanda our therapist is lovely.

"It will take time for Leni to catch up but she will get there."

Leni's aunty Cathy Dubois is holding a fundraiser for the Hear and Say Centre at the Royal Hotel from 7pm tonight.

Workmate Jake Edgar will shave his dreads for the cause.

Anyone who would like to help the Hear and Say Centre is urged to attend.

Gympie Times

Topics:  birth hearing parenting



Six hideaway bars to escape winter chill

THE last season of GoT finally uttered the words we’ve been waiting six seasons to hear and now that the weather has cooled down in Brisbane, “winter is here.”

Our six art gallery picks for a creative day out

Queensland's Gallery of Modern Art always has a fun, exciting and interesting exhibition on show for the whole family to enjoy.

YOU'D be mistaken in thinking Brisbane wasn't an arty city.

Brisbane's arts and culture events centre stage

You loved the film, now you're about to love the musical. Don't miss The Bodyguard The Musical in Brisbane this July.

THE arts and culture events you don't want to miss.

Homewares stores to fulfil your Instagram dreams

No Caption

You too can become an Insta-star with these fab stores.

Date nights under $50

Nothing is more romantic than a picnic with a cracking view.

NOT every date has to cost you a bomb.

Top 10 Brisbane experiences to cross off your bucket list

Do yourself a favour and get amongst the food truck scene. Eat Street is a great place to start.

A GOOD bucket list doesn’t have to span continents or cost millions.

Six mega sporting events you need to be at this year

Don't miss all the action trackside this season.

IF THERE is one thing Brisbane does damn well, it’s play host.

Fix the Bruce Hwy and unlock our full potential

Applications open tomorrow for the $20m in funding

Hughes family takes Gympie Show glory back to Kandanga

WINNING FEELING: Sarah and Nick Hughes had plenty to smile about when they took home A big share of the Gympie Show glory to their Farogan Valley Droughtmaster stud at Upper Kandanga.

Upper Kandanga wins the glory at Gympie Show stud cattle judging

Bush-beach relief for renters in tough times

TENANTS: Families are finding it hard to put a roof over their heads in Gympie region.

Tenants on struggle street in from Gympie to Bundaberg

Local Partners

Sam Armytage and Tom Cruise? Saaaaay what?

SAMANTHA Armytage has hit back at rumours she’s dating Tom Cruise, following reports the pair had hit it off during an interview on Sunrise.

Musical tribute to flood volunteers released

Songwriter honours flood volunteers who helped their neighbours.

Lismore songwriter Simon Thomas was moved by strangers' kindness

Karl Stefanovic's rant about Schapelle Corby 'a bit rich'

Karl Stefanovic is sick of hearing about Schapelle Corby.

Maybe he just wanted to make himself the story.

Could Schapelle be heading for Gladstone?

Australian Schapelle Corby is escorted by Bali Police at the parole office in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia, 27 May 2017.

Schapelle's mother teases her free daughter could be Gladstone bound

Six things you never knew about Men in Black

Mushu the pug

It's been 20 years since Men in Black first hit cinemas

10 strange stories behind famous sex scenes

Khaleesi and Khal Drogo in a steamy moment.

Every set has their own way of filming sex scenes

HBO spills new details on Game of Thrones’ final season

Game of Thrones’ eighth and final season will only have six episodes.

New details about what to expect from the eighth, final instalment.

Bush-beach relief for renters in tough times

TENANTS: Families are finding it hard to put a roof over their heads in Gympie region.

Tenants on struggle street in from Gympie to Bundaberg

New $46.7m counter-terrorism facility to be built in Wacol

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, pictured with Police Commisioner Ian Stewart, has announced plans to build a new counter-terrorism facility in Wacol.

The facility will be built over three years.

Home to a sex worker: Sordid history of iconic Coast shed

Milojevic Djordjevic's daughter Linda at the derelict shed on Yandina-Coolum Road.

The shed was once a liveable 'barrack'.

This is real estate's billion-dollar man

Bob Wolff at AREC with John McGrath of McGrath Real Estate.

They don’t call him the “Billion dollar man” for nothing

Man's amazing comeback from monster crisis

Pat O'Driscoll agents Penny Keating and Doug Webber sold 56 Agnes St, The Range at auction over the weekend.

NOT long ago, he sold his possessions to pay staff. Now he's back.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!