The sweet moment a young Queensland girl heard her mum’s voice for the first time since losing her hearing
Charlotte Rivett was born with an absent auditory nerve on her left side, meaning she had hearing loss in her left ear.
See the heartwarming moment in the video above
At just a few months of age, she was fitted with a hearing aid and began speech therapy lessons.
But in March this year, the two-year-old caught a cold that attacked the auditory nerve on her hearing side and she was diagnosed with being profoundly deaf.
After four months, when the nerves didn’t repair themselves, Charlotte was fitted with a cochlear implant on her right side.
Eight days later, the implant was switched on and the world of sound returned to Charlotte’s ears.
“It was the most incredible feeling,” her mum Catherine told 7NEWS.com.au.
“It was a period of nervousness and then complete elation.
“When we saw her respond to sound, we just knew that she was going to have a wonderful, bright future with her cochlear implant.”
“She loves sounds, she loves communicating. She loves singing and dancing.
“So we already knew that prior to her losing her hearing, which is why it was even more devastating to us when she did, but there’s such a relief when she got the access to sound again because we knew she would just pick up where she left off.”
Charlotte, who is now three, loves Peppa Pig.
She is an energetic, happy and social little girl, her mum added.
“She sees the bright side of things and she’s exceptionally chatty and social and just a really happy, energetic, good natured little girl,” Catherine said.
Despite the challenges she’s already faced in her short life, Catherine believes Charlotte will be “unstoppable”.
“She’ll always have additional challenges. Hearing will always be that little bit more difficult.
“But she’s got a real enthusiasm and passion about communication and hearing.”
Through Charlotte’s hearing loss journey, the family has been supported by Queensland non-for-profit Hear and Say which helps children born deaf or hard of hearing.
“We had grief at a very different future initially.
“When you have a baby, you imagine a wonderful life and we’re very fortunate that thanks to Hear and Say, she will have a wonderful life, but it was complete uncertainty at the time of the road ahead.
“All of the concerns and fears that we had about Charlotte and her future, that being really allayed and she’s got a very, very bright future.”
Catherine also wants parents who are going through similar situations to know that while it’s an emotional time, the technology and support services available to families are wonderful.
“You’re in fantastic hands. Don’t worry,” she said.
Loud Shirt Day
As part of its efforts, Hear and Say is holding its 15th annual Loud Shirt Day on Friday.
Ambassador and Olympic gold-medalist Meg Harris, who has hearing loss in both ears, called on the community to support the organisation
Harris was diagnosed with having hearing loss when she was six years old and while she didn’t enjoy wearing hearing aids as a child, she realised she was missing out when she eventually put them on.
“I did not like wearing them at all. I was kind of embarrassed. Not that I had a hearing impairment necessarily, but more the fact that I had to wear them and no one else did,” she said.
“I just realised that I would rather not miss out on stuff than worry about how it looks in my ears to everyone else.
“The more I did that, the more I realised that no one else actually cared either so I started wearing my hearing aids more often and I realised how much I actually was missing out on.”
Harris said she became an Ambassador to raise awareness about hearing loss and help children not miss out on anything.
“I didn’t realise until recently how much they actually have improved my way of life,” she added.
Hear and Say spokesperson Lorelle Silveira said the day is all about getting “loud”.
“We also ask people to make a donation, no matter how big or small, because that actually helps us provide the gift of sound to kids in need,” she said.
“I get to see children hear their parents speak for the very first time and what a lot of people don’t know is that a baby normally learns to hear in utero.
“So when they’re born, they can already recognise mum and dad’s voices and what I get to see is that magical moment that a baby hears their mum or dad for the first time they hear their own name and it truly is a magical moment.
“It doesn’t matter how many I see every time I’m absolutely blown away by just how absolutely incredible it is.”
To donate, head here.