Four-year-old Nadia Esfahani’s life was changed by the Waikato District Health Board’s Newborn Hearing Screening Programme, which is currently celebrating its 10th year.
Shortly after Nadia was born she was diagnosed with hearing loss, and because of her early diagnosis, she has grown up with the ability to hear.
“The Newborn Hearing Screening Programme is a good reflection of what the system can do and demonstrates that if the intervention is carried out early enough and in the right way, children can still develop naturally,” said Nadia’s mother Julie Barbour.
Nadia was screened as a week-old-baby and did not respond as per normal. She went back at one-month-old and again did not respond to the tests.
By this stage Nadia’s parents Julie and Aboolfazl Esfahani had a fair idea there was something wrong with their daughter’s hearing; they just didn’t know to what extent.
“Nadia would only respond to visual stimuli, she wouldn’t respond to noises or voices,” Julie explained.
“She would recognise her older sister as soon as she saw her, but would never react to the sound of her sister’s voice.”
At five weeks old Nadia was diagnosed with even hearing loss in both ears, and at two months old received hearing aids.
“She just needs the volume turned up so she can hear,” explains Julie.
Nadia had audiology appointments at least once a month until she was one.
She needed new moulds made for her hearing aids and each time this was a three-week process because they were made in Australia.
Nadia starts her day with sound. The first things her parents do is put in her hearing aids and say “good morning.”
Through behavioural training Nadia now connects her hearing aids with sound.
“She has never pulled them out, because she understands what they are for,” says Julie.
As a result of Nadia’s diagnosis at such a young age and the implementation of hearing aids, she has been able to develop her speech naturally and has not needed any speech and language support.
“The way the Newborn Hearing Screening Programme and the National Foundation for the Deaf can support hearing loss is incredible,” says Julie.
“We are all fortunate that Nadia was born in an era where technology is available and is a lot better than it was 10 years ago.”
Nadia’s hearing aids provide good quality sound and do everything they need to, to provide her with the ability to hear.
With the assistance of audiologists and technology, and through their efforts, Julie and Aboolfazl have worked hard to ensure Nadia has developed just like her older sister and that she has the use of such a crucial sense as hearing.
Nadia now gets her hearing tested every six months, and isn’t far off being able to handle her hearing aids by herself.
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