For one-year-old Abby, a dog might say, “woof woof” or “гав-гав” depending on the story.
Being raised to speak both English and Russian, Abby was a much-anticipated first baby for Sunshine Coast parents Joel and Yuliya.
“It’s such interesting times for us as Abby changes so much – every month she shows us something different, and we learn as parents too,” said Yuliya.
“Abby always wakes up early, her hearing aids go on straight away, and we all have breakfast together as a family. The rest of our day is usually spent being out in the backyard listening to the birds, reading books, going on walks and dancing to music. She loves watching what’s going on around her.”
Although a pregnancy during a global pandemic had not quite been what they were expecting, Yuliya and Joel said the biggest surprise came when they discovered Abby had been born with hearing loss.
“There were a million steps after Abby’s birth, and it was hard to keep track of all the people ringing, the appointments and trying to figure out exactly what her diagnosis was. We didn’t know what half these things were for, or understand what was going on other than she would have to wear hearing aids,” said Joel.
Joel said that Abby’s reactions to loud noises – such as when a door slammed or if someone shouted nearby – initially left them questioning whether the diagnosis was a mistake.
“It wasn’t until we got to Hear and Say and it was explained to us about the limited range of sounds Abby was naturally hearing that her diagnosis began to make sense. Now of course we can see a massive difference when Abby is wearing her hearing aids,” said Joel.
“Like all our parents we just want to support our daughter to reach her full potential in life, and Hear and Say is absolutely helping her to do that.
“I think we would have really let her down not knowing what she needed to successfully speak and hear well, and we wouldn’t have known what she needed without coming to Hear and Say. It’s given us the tools and information we need to help Abby with her hearing that we didn’t have before.”