One in six Australians are impacted by hearing loss – but for Townsville Mum, Samantha Cervellin, both of her children, six-year-old Thomas and four-year-old Pippa, were born with hearing loss.
With no family history of hearing loss, Samantha and her husband, Martin were shocked and worried by the unknown when the hospital-based newborn screening program identified that both Thomas and Pippa were born with moderate sensorineural hearing loss in both ears.
Samantha recalled the time: “The results for Thomas came as a big shock as we have no family history of hearing loss. I remember feeling very uncertain about what his future would look like. My husband, who is very involved in brass bands, was also very unsure about what the diagnosis would mean for his ability to hear and play music.”
“When Pippa was born, we knew there would be a high chance she would also be impacted by hearing loss. Even before she had her newborn hearing screening, I just had a gut feeling. I think this was my way of preparing myself for the journey again,” she said.
Despite working in the health profession as a physiotherapist, Samantha was unsure where to turn to ensure Thomas and Pippa were supported and not left behind in their speech and language development.
“I found the task of finding the right support for Thomas and Pippa a daunting process – looking at a long list of providers to choose from. I have a friend whose son was also born with hearing loss and remember her mentioning the impact Hear and Say had on their journey, so thought this was a good place to start.”
Since connecting with world-leading Queensland not-for-profit Hear and Say, Thomas and Pippa are on track to meet speech and language goals and are learning to hear and speak like any ‘typical hearing’ children their age. Samantha noted Thomas and Pippa’s speech therapist at Hear and Say, Amy Russell, has supported the process, and celebrated the highs and lows with the family.
“I don’t think the impact of hearing should ever be underestimated – it’s been a journey. Amy has constantly recognised the hard work and persistence we’ve put in to ensure Thomas and Pippa achieve their goals and reach their full potential,” added Mrs Cervellin.
Now, the Cervellin family will join forces with Hear and Say and call on the community to donate and support the not-for-profit’s Triple Impact Giving Day this Thursday 27 May – because babies born deaf can’t wait.
Hear and Say’s Triple Impact Day is a 24-hour online fundraising event dedicated to raising vital funds to help give children born deaf or hard of hearing the gift of sound – with all donations tripled in the lead-up to and on the day. To donate to Hear and Say this Triple Impact Day, head HERE.