Ear health specialists, advocates and former patients have gathered to champion the future of children’s hearing.
The Dubbo Deaf Club, Hear Our Heart Ear Bus Project and the NSW Department of Education Specialist Teachers of the Deaf hosted stakeholders in ear health, education and the public at Bangamalanha Centre.
A survivor of chronic middle ear disease, Dubbo Senior College south campus year 10 student Wade Miller, shared his story of survival in the hopes others wouldn’t have the same ear problems.
He said as a young child he was in and out of doctor appointments all of the time, who mistreated and failed to diagnose the issue until he was treated by local specialist Dr Hayder Ridha.
With operations starting at age nine, the 17-year-old has had 80 percent of both ear drums and middle ear bones replaced.
Mr Miller thanked Hear our Heart, Dr Ridha and his parents as his ears have now been healthy for six months.
“My education has really suffered because of my ears but I have been lucky to have Rachel as my hearing teacher since year four.
“No matter if you’re deaf or have hearing problems, or not deaf, you can do whatever you want, you can still achieve your goals and what you want in life,” he said.
“There will always be someone by your side.”
Ear, nose and throat surgeon Dr Kelvin Klong said he knew too-well the devastation and prevalence of Otitis Media also known as ‘glue ear’.
“One of the things we forget about Otitis Media is that its the simple thing called hearing … so it’s not actually a medical or surgical problem per say, it’s a problem about interacting, about development, about language acquisition,” Dr Klong said.
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The only Aboriginal ENT specialist said treatment was about correction so that “these kids live the dream they want too” and are not limited by hearing problems.
“It’s more than a medical solution or surgical intervention, it’s social,” Dr Klong said.