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Peppa Pig and her ‘magic ear’ – two of Holly Duncan-Owens’ favourite things

Three-year-old Holly Duncan-Owens is a bit of a daredevil, according to her dad Cameron, but streaming Peppa Pig audiobooks to her cochlear implant would have to be one of her all-time favourite things. 

Holly’s hearing difference was picked up at her newborn hearing screening and a further MRI identified Pendred Syndrome, a genetic syndrome which affects the normal functioning of the inner ear. 

As a result, she wore hearing aids from the age of eight months but the hearing in her right ear further declined. She had her cochlear implant (CI) fitted in May 2023 when she was two and a half years old. 

Despite her young age, Cameron says Holly took it all in her stride and adapted to wearing her cochlear implant straight away.  

“She soon knew she needed her new "magic ear" to help her hear even better, quickly learning to pop the coil back on her head and ask for her CI in the morning,” says Cameron. 

Cameron and his husband didn’t previously know of anyone who was hard of hearing, which is why he says the input from The Hearing House has been invaluable on their CI journey. 

“It was a whole new world to us and a really steep learning curve, but at every step of the way the Hearing House team have been there for both Holly and us as her parents.”  

“In the early stages in particular, they really helped to allay our worries about the future and how being implanted would impact Holly.  

“Our implanted kids are superheroes,” says Cameron. “They can do anything they want, and The Hearing House team has only helped us to realise that more.  

“It's been so helpful to have experts readily available to talk us through everything and answer all our questions. The regular audiology and speech therapy appointments have been excellent and Holly loves going to them - she has so much fun playing the testing games.” 

Cameron says Holly also loves that she can make her CI fun with different coloured stickers, and regularly streams Peppa Pig audiobooks directly to her CI from his Spotify.  

“She also loves riding her scooter, swimming and climbing the biggest towers at the playgrounds.  

“There’s nothing she can’t do,” he says. “She loves life.” 

Holly attends the regular First Signs playgroup run by The Hearing House and Deaf Aotearoa where all activities are conducted in NZSL.  

Holly is also one of the faces of this year’s Loud Shirt Day campaign. Check out the website for more information on how you can fundraise and donate to help make a difference to the lives of CI users such as Holly. 


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