The team was delighted when the Minister for Disability Issues Hon Priyanca Radhakrishnan called in for a visit the day one-year-old Mackenzie Dawson had travelled from Hamilton with her whānau to have her cochlear implants (CI) switched on.
Hearing House audiologists Robyn Moriarty and Briana Putnam walked Mackenzie and her parents through the switch-on process, assisted by speech language therapist Joe Chandler.
Robyn and Briana first switched one CI on, and then the other, before activating them both simultaneously. Mackenzie’s face lit up when her processors started to pick up sounds, and she was able to start hearing for the first time with her implants.
“Today marks the start of an exciting journey for Mackenzie, her whānau and the Hearing House team,” says The Hearing House CEO Dr Claire Green.
"She’ll gradually be able to process more sounds. This can be overwhelming and tiring at first, but we’re here for all the steps and milestones along the away.
“We’ll work in collaboration with her whānau to achieve the best outcomes we can for Mackenzie.”
Mackenzie’s hearing loss was first detected when she failed her newborn hearing screening and she was fitted with hearing aids when she was just 12 weeks old. Shortly before her first birthday, her hearing declined further and she was referred to The Hearing House for bilateral cochlear implants.
“We’re just so excited that she’s on her journey to have hearing,” says mum Dianne.
“We’ll be making up for lost time by reading books with her every day and will be continuing to communicate using sign language.
“The Hearing House has helped get us to this point, and we’re so grateful for their support, compassion and expertise.”
Four-year-old brother Riley was also there for Mackenzie’s switch-on, and Dianne says it was a very special day for him as well.
“He loves her new ears,” she says. “He’s very impressed with her new high-tech hearing!”