Tuned into the sounds of life

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Little Thomas who was born with a hearing disability is now able to hear thanks to an implant he received at Westmead Private Hospital

Thomas is a happy, playful boy who used to get frustrated at times as his parents couldn’t understand him. The reason they couldn’t understand him was Thomas had never heard a sound in his short life — he had a hearing disability since birth — and hence couldn’t communicate by speaking.

Three-year-old Thomas Bollinger and his twin Michelle were born prematurely. While Michelle is blessed with good health, life was difficult for Thomas because of his hearing problem.

But this soundless reality changed recently, thanks to a bilateral cochlear implant Thomas received at Westmead Private Hospital. The procedure was carried out by Associate Professor Melville Da Cruz (Ear, Nose & Throat Surgeon).

Hearing aids were not an option for Thomas and his parents learnt that cochlear implants would give their son the best chance of hearing. “Whilst Thomas communicated effectively through lip reading, it was hard at times to understand him completely. This used to frustrate both him and us,” said his mother Kylie.

Mike Flatley, CEO of Westmead Private Hospital, said, “It’s an absolute privilege for us to play a part in this truly remarkable surgery and is just another great example of the outstanding medical intervention we provide at our hospital.”

Thomas’s cochlear device was turned on two weeks after the operation. He can now hear all the sounds of life and his family is overjoyed.

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