Donate the gift of hearing to babies like Charlie The birth of a baby is a joyous occasion, full of wonder and amazement. But for some, these first days are a confusing mix of anxiety and trepidation. That’s what happened to Ashleigh and Dave when their son Charlie was born. At 2 days old, Charlie underwent the standard newborn hearing test, but the results came back inconclusive. After an anxious wait, they finally got the heartbreaking news that he was partially deaf and had been missing out on hearing their voices. Missing out on the sounds that should be preparing him for speech. “If he’d scraped through the first test and we thought he could hear us talking, his life might have been very different.” Click to give your support and speed up research into a new hearing test for babies...and stop the heartbreak of children missing out on vital speech sounds. Not every deaf child is as lucky as Charlie. The current test used on newborn babies can’t tell how much hearing a baby has if they’re born with a hearing condition called auditory neuropathy. These babies need to wait until around 9 months for a reliable test in which they must be able to turn their head when they hear a sound. This wait means it’s impossible to choose a hearing aid that allows all speech sounds to be heard until the baby is much older. This delay can have a permanent effect on their communication ability throughout their whole life. However, the Bionics Institute has invented a new hearing test. This test shows in the first few weeks of life whether a baby needs a cochlear implant or a hearing aid. Instead of waiting to find out. Professor Colette McKay leads our groundbreaking research into this new hearing test. It’s called EarGenie™ and uses near-infrared light waves to measure hearing. Click here to support Professor McKay's team today Professor McKay’s team is testing the new technology. The device shines the near-infrared light onto a baby’s head while they’re asleep to measure the brain’s response to sounds. “The EarGenie test not only measures how well the baby can hearthe sounds of speech but also if they can tell them apart.” EarGenie™ also helps babies like Charlie, who are identified early and provided with a hearing aid. It will provide a better indication than current tests that hearing aids are doing what they need to do, to enable him to develop speech. Treatment for babies who can’t hear is a race against time. For Ashleigh and Dave those first few weeks were a whirlwind of tests, hearing aids and fear. Fear that Charlie would miss out on hearing the sounds that develop speech. “We knew it was a race against time. He needed hearing aids as early as possible to make sure he wasn’t left behind at school.” Children who miss out on hearing in the first six months never catch up. This tax appeal season we are focusing on the research being carried out by Professor McKay and her team to improve the first EarGenie™ prototype and build the software needed to prepare EarGenie for use in audiology clinics, so that children born deaf: • are diagnosed and treated as early as possible• can hear and distinguish between the sounds that teach them to speak• get the chance to keep up with their peers in school and succeed in life. Click here to donate. Charlie is a happy, healthy 8 month old! He has had hearing aids since he was 4 weeks old. You can see the joy on his face when they’re on, especially when music is playing!Ashleigh and Dave are passionate about making sure every deaf child has the best start in life. That’s why they recently participated in clinical trials for the new EarGenie™ test. “We will do everything we can to support research that gives deaf children like Charlie the chance to learn to speak and live life to the fullest.” We are still seeking infants younger than 24 months old, both with and without hearing loss (including Auditory Neuropathy), to participate in EarGenie research. If you are a parent or guardian and would like to be involved, or find out more, please contact the team at 03 9667 7569 or [email protected]icsinstitute.org.