Butterfly Appeal to help in struggle against deafness

BUTTERFLY APPEAL: Rory Falconer and his parents Stuart and Shontell rely on Hear and Say, since the two-and-a-half-year-old was diagnosed with severe to profound deafness at birth.
BUTTERFLY APPEAL: Rory Falconer and his parents Stuart and Shontell rely on Hear and Say, since the two-and-a-half-year-old was diagnosed with severe to profound deafness at birth. Kaitlyn Gutzke Emerory

IT IS a little known fact that butterflies are deaf, and that is where the annual Butterfly Appeal for Hear and Say gets it name.

Butterfly pendants and brooches will be on sale throughout March to benefit the organisation that supports young children with hearing loss.

Rory Falconer is a local two-and-a-half-year-old who relies on the support from Hear and Say to help him, having been diagnosed with severe to profound deafness at just six weeks old.

His mother Shontell Ahwang said she was devastated when she learnt her son was deaf.

"When he was eight weeks old he was fitted with some hearing aids down at Australian Hearing in Brisbane. And that for us was like his switch-on, because they put amplifications in his ears," Shontell said.

"The doctor said we might or might not get a reaction, and I said 'Hello, Rory', and he just looked at me and his dummy popped out. He could hear just slightly."

Although the hearing aids allowed Rory to hear some sounds, it wasn't enough for him to develop the ability to learn and grow like other children, so when he was eight months old he underwent surgery to get cochlear implants.

"The surgery is not anything any mother would dream of having to do, but we had to," Shontell said.

"We got through that, and then there was the real big switch-on for the cochlears, which was a great day."

Rory and his parents now travel to Brisbane every three months for audiology on his implants, and he does weekly therapy sessions.

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