Lively, blue-eyed twins Evie and Lilla were born prematurely at just 28 weeks. Despite their early arrival, they were both healthy and ready to leave the special care nursery at 36 weeks. But before they came home, they were given a newborn hearing screen, which indicated something wasn't quite right with little Evie and Lilla's hearing.
An Auditory Brainstem Response test diagnosed the pair with severe sensorineural hearing loss, affecting the girl's inner ears and nerves. The permanent condition, which may have been genetic, can be caused through damaged or absence of nerve cells in the cochlea. But that hasn’t stop these cheeky sisters from growing and learning to adapt with the help of their loving family and Telethon Speech & Hearing (TS&H).
In November of 2014, at just five months old, the girls started going to TS&H as part of the Early Intervention Hearing Impaired Program, which is funded by ToyBox International. "TS&H have been instrumental in ensuring both Evie and Lilla have reached all of their developmental milestones so far," proud mum Kristina says. Of course, their TS&H therapist Megan has played a large role in the girls’ progress. "Megan gives us the support and guidance we need to keep Evie and Lilla moving forward."
The girls love to read books, sing songs, drive fast in their toddler-sized cars and bounce on the trampoline. Inquisitive of the world around them, they find everything interesting, especially their own hearing aids. Fitted at a mere 40 weeks old, they both wear Bilaterial hearing aids to help them adjust to sound. "The aids are just too interesting to resist," Kristina says. "The bonnets have been invaluable in helping us get good 'ear time' each day".
TS&H continue to help children with hearing, speech and language difficulties, and remain a supportive environment for their families too. Working towards integration, TS&H provide children like Evie and Lilla with the best opportunity to move forward and onto the next chapter of their lives. ToyBox International support and fund many of TS&H's programmes, continuing their mission to help disadvantaged and sick children in Perth get the best start.
"We hope that the girls can continue to grow up happy and healthy and experience everything life has to offer without being disadvantaged by their hearing loss," Kristina says. And that they are: Evie and Lilla are thriving and on track to transition into school with their peers.
Words: Casey Vassallo