Stories about real families and children who have benefitted from the NHS Newborn Hearing Screening Programme.
If you are a parent and have a story to share please contact us as we would love to hear your experiences.
1. Elliot Timms, aged 18 months, living in Eastbourne, East Sussex
Nadia Timms had a difficult pregnancy but when Elliot was born (in February 2006) neither she, nor her husband Aaron, had any concerns. Elliot had his hearing checked as part of the NHS Newborn Hearing Screening Programme (within a couple of weeks of birth) and the results showed that further appointments were needed to check his hearing.
Speaking about the experience, Nadia Timms says: “At the time I was a bit annoyed with all the appointments. He seemed to be responding to what was going on around him and, with no family history of deafness, I didn’t have any concerns about his hearing.”
By eight weeks of age Elliot was confirmed as being profoundly deaf – he was the first baby in East Sussex to have his deafness detected by the programme. He has been wearing hearing aids since he was ten weeks' old.
Elliot is now 18 months’ old and recent tests to check his hearing show that his hearing has changed and, according to the most recent test, he has a moderate to severe hearing loss in his right ear and a profound hearing loss in his left ear. Great Ormond Street Hospital is currently carrying out investigations to see if he has the unusual condition of auditory neuropathy dys-synchrony.
“I’m very grateful that we knew early about Elliot’s hearing. He benefited a great deal from wearing hearing aids early. It was important to us that he got used to the noises around him as well as interacting with others, particularly other children, including his brother Henry, aged three. I think that much later detection could make it very difficult for both the parents and the child.
“We got support so early that Elliot is developing really well with his communication skills and his language development is just about at the level he should be for his age. Elliott wears his hearing aids during all waking hours - he loves dancing to music, and playing with anything that has four wheels. He has a wonderful repertoire of sound effects for all kinds of vehicles and animals. He enjoys all the things that his big brother Henry does, and loves using his hearing and voice to the full potential. We are very proud of him.”
2. Jasmine and Isabella Neale-Snashall, aged 3, living in Eastbourne, East Sussex
Michelle Neale-Shashall was rushed into hospital in July 2004 while pregnant with twins. Jasmine and Isabella were born prematurely, at 26 weeks, and put into intensive care. The birth had been sudden and difficult and both twins were in intensive care for five months.
A couple of weeks after the twins were brought home an initial hearing screening test was carried. Michelle thought that Jasmine and Isabella were alert and seemed to be reacting to voices and music so didn't consider that there was anything wrong with their hearing. For both twins, the initial test failed to produce a reading because of fluid in the ear. Further tests were carried out and repeated at home in the weeks that followed and the twins were then diagnosed as profoundly deaf. They were among the first babies in Brighton to be identified as part of the NHS Newborn Hearing Screening Programme.
Speaking about receiving the news, Michelle says: "It was all a complete shock. Both Jasmine and Isabella seemed to be responding to noise - I was in denial for quite some time – I really couldn't believe it. I've now had another baby, Brandyn. I was nervous about his hearing test but it came back with a clear response. It's only now, by seeing how he responds, that I fully recognise that it was very different with the girls – they were my first so I had nothing to compare them to.
"As the twins have grown it's been a constant battle trying to get them to keep their hearing aids in but their communication skills are developing well. Recent tests show that the twins' hearing has improved - they now have moderate hearing loss. They are really like any other three year olds - they are very sociable and love dancing, ballet, animals and going to pre-school and playing with other children."