Holding your ten-month old as she is put under anaesthetic, it’s pretty daunting. It was scary.”
Those are the words of six-year-old Katie’s dad, Tim.
When Tim and Bec had their first child, little Katie went through many of the standard tests babies go through. At six months old, Katie failed her hearing tests. They travelled from their home in Horsham, to our Cochlear Implant Clinic at The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital (the Eye and Ear) to find out more about Katie’s hearing loss.
Professor Robert Briggs, one of our Ear Nose and Throat Surgeons quickly identified Katie as a candidate for a cochlear implant. The Cochlear Implant Clinic is the only place that provides cochlear implant surgery in our state, transforming the lives of thousands of vulnerable people.
At ten months old, Katie went into surgery to receive her cochlear implant. For parents Tim and Bec, it was the longest hours of their lives as they waited for Professor Briggs and the surgical team to bring this innovative technology to their daughter.
It wasn’t just the success of the surgery that was on the line. Early on Tim and Bec were told that they we would have to move to Melbourne, away from their support network in Horsham, so Katie could attend a school for deaf children.
But thanks to the work of Professor Briggs and the Cochlear Implant Clinic team, Katie’s surgery was a huge success and her family could stay in their community.
In fact, now six, Katie’s speech is now on par, and in some cases above that of her peers and she is already an inspiring philanthropist.
Working alongside her grandfather in his shed, they built Christmas trees using timber offcuts, which they sold through their community. ‘Katie wanted to do something with the money to help other kids get the implant so they can hear and have a fun life like her.’
The Cochlear Implant Clinic gives Victorians with severe or profound hearing loss access to innovative technology to improve their quality of life and overcome the barriers, isolation and frustration they face as they navigate everyday life with a severe hearing impairment.