New world for Olivia after cochlear implant

NEW LIFE: Olivia Hutfield (second from right) celebrates with her sister Jessica, and parents Ian and Vanessa.
NEW LIFE: Olivia Hutfield (second from right) celebrates with her sister Jessica, and parents Ian and Vanessa. Patrick Woods

THE rustling of the trees, a soft whisper saying "I love you" or the sound of birds chirping.

These simple pleasures passed by little Olivia Hutfield.

Until now.

Olivia had her cochlear implant switched on for the first time yesterday.

Her mother Vanessa, father Ian and big sister Jessica were there for the special moment.

"When we were in the room I softly spoke her name and she turned instantly," Mrs Hutfield said.

"She could hear me. It was a changing day for Olivia.

"We are so proud of her, really happy."

Olivia is one of many success stories from the Hear and Say Centre at Burnside.

The leading pediatric auditory-verbal and implantable technologies (including cochlear implants) centre teaches children who are deaf to hear, listen and speak through play.

Olivia was born a normal healthy girl, but when she was still not speaking properly by age two, her parents knew something wasn't right.

Mr and Mrs Hutfield were told Olivia would need hearing aids and she would progressively lose her hearing.

After many tests, doctors in their native United Kingdom told the Hutfields there was nothing that could be done and that Olivia was not a suitable candidate for a cochlear implant.

It wasn't until the family immigrated to Australia that they realised there was hope.

Australian Hearing sent them to the Hear and Say Centre and two weeks ago, Olivia had her cochlear implant.

"It's all about re-training her brain to hear sounds correctly, not the sounds she heard incorrectly growing up," Mrs Hutfield said.

The team from Bank of Queensland Maroochydore and other business leaders joined in yesterday's big mom ent to see how funds they plan to raise at their annual charity golf day will be used to change a child's life.


Topics:  cochlear implant deafness editors picks

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