A hearing impairment never stopped Australian Idol singer Brianna Carpenter from achieving her dream and it is not likely to hold back five-year-old Phoebe Kerr of Buderim either.
Brianna was able to overcome her impairment of profound deafness in her right ear and take on a singing career.
The energetic, loving and inquisitive Phoebe was diagnosed with a hearing loss at age two and within six months was fitted with hearing aids and commenced therapy at the Hear and Say Centre.
“When Phoebe was first diagnosed I grieved for her future, but the Hear and Say Centre gave me hope, especially when I was told that Phoebe would be able to go to school, as any other little girl would,” Phoebe’s mother Mandy Kerr said.
“I feel like we are actively helping her reach her potential and that the whole family is involved in her therapy, even though sometimes the noise level means you have to fight to be heard.”
Inspired by Phoebe and other Hear and Say Centre success stories, Brianna Carpenter will be assisting by donning a pair of butterfly wings this month as part of her contribution to the Queensland Hear and Say Centre’s major fundraising event the Butterfly Appeal which runs throughout April.
The talented singer also penned a new song, Hush, especially for the Butterfly Appeal which she performed at the Brisbane launch on Monday, 31 March. The charity’s mission of assisting children with hearing impairment and their families hits close to home for Australian Idol star Brianna, who was diagnosed with deafness in one ear at the age of six.
The Butterfly Appeal, which is proudly sponsored by Suncorp, will be launched in the Sunshine Coast at Eumundi Markets on Wednesday, 2 April and continues through to the end of the month. By supporting the Appeal, you will be giving a child the best chance to learn to listen and speak to their full potential.
The launch will be emceed by Channel Seven news presenter Rosanna Natoli who will be accompanied by the Suncorp Butterfly Brigade, Phoebe and her family, and Suncorp Nambour branch manager Jaeda Wollington.
Recent research revealed a baby born with hearing loss will suffer a 20 week set-back of speech and language development even if their impairment is diagnosed at birth and early intervention commenced immediately. Branded a ‘neurological emergency’, it goes on to prove that early detection and intense stimulation and exposure to spoken language will give your child the best chance to learn to listen and speak to their full potential.
In Brianna’s case, her mother was constantly providing the necessary stimulation. “My mother was always playing music or singing around the house. She always tells me how she would crank the music up on her Elton John or Billy Joel records when I was in the womb,” Brianna recalled.
“On top of that she was very creative and artistic, so I was always lucky to have that stimulation while growing up.”
Hear and Say Centre managing director and founder Dimity Dornan said hearing loss was the most commonly diagnosed disability in newborns, but society had the power to decimate the very significant impact of hearing loss in newborns world-wide.
“Through the combination of newborn hearing screening, modern hearing technology like digital hearing aids and cochlear implants, and specialised Auditory-Verbal education techniques, we can teach children to communicate with clear, natural speech and language,” Ms Dornan said.
The Hear and Say Centre’s role is to teach children with hearing loss to listen and speak in the normal range for their age by the time they are ready to start school and to support their families through the process, with each place in its program costing the Centre an average $10,000 per year for each child.
Two dollar butterfly brooches and pens, and five dollar lapel pins will be available for purchase in Suncorp branches and KFC outlets and other selected outlets throughout Queensland during the appeal.