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Sofia, 8, shares some wisdom with Minister Butler on acting early for hearing loss

Cochlear implant recipient Sofia impresses VIPs at the Australian Hearing Hub.
Professor Greg Leigh, Jerome Laxale MP, The Hon Mark Butler MP, Sofia Spillane, Michelle Giglio, Professor S Bruce Downton standing in a group.
  • Hearing

NextSense client Sofia is only eight, but she had plenty of experience to share with elected officials recently when a VIP delegation visited the Australian Hearing Hub to celebrate the Hub’s 10-year Anniversary.

The Hon Mark Butler MP, Minister for Health and Aged Care, and Federal Member for Bennelong, Jerome Laxale MP joined Macquarie University Vice Chancellor Professor S. Bruce Dowton, representatives from NextSense and our fellow hearing Hub members Cochlear, Macquarie University Hearing, Hearing Australia, Macquarie University, National Acoustic Laboratories, and The Shepherd Centre to tour the Hub and learn about its work and the importance of partnerships to drive hearing innovation.

Sofia and her mum Michelle shared their experience of Sofia’s hearing loss and the journey it had led them on. This started with newborn hearing screening, an initial visit to Hearing Australia, and now, ongoing support from NextSense. Sofia has two cochlear implants and receives support from the team at NextSense Gladesville. She has had to work incredibly hard to reach the exceptional levels of speech and hearing she has achieved. Critical to her success was a tailored, team approach to her care.

Sofia engaged effortlessly and confidently with Minister Butler, and mum Michelle spoke positively about her engagement with the different NextSense services associated with their support, from cochlear surgery to early intervention and ongoing support for her implant.

Minister Butler met with representatives of Hearing Hub member organisations before touring the Australian Hearing Hub’s state-of-the-art anechoic chamber. The chamber is heavily insulated to eliminate noise from outside and reverberation inside the room.  It is currently being used in research to better understand how listeners with hearing aids or cochlear implants respond to sound from different directions in noisy situations.

The Minister got to experience first-hand some of the challenges experienced by people with hearing loss by briefly taking the part of a participant in the research.

Well done, Sofia, for demonstrating what’s possible with the right early intervention and support.

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