Personal Stories

Jackson Reed's story

“Even if your child is found to have a hearing problem, it doesn’t have to be a huge disability. Because Jackson's was picked up early, he is doing just fine!”
Ashburton baby Jackson Reed was just two days old when possible problems with his hearing were first identified.

Jackson was born in Christchurch Hospital in June 2009. His mum Anna says she and husband Hayden were offered a routine hearing test for Jackson, as part of the Universal Newborn Hearing Screening and Early Intervention Programme. The programme is designed to pick up hearing loss early so help and support can be offered as soon as possible.

“The first test indicated a possible problem, so we were asked back for another test about six weeks’ later.

“We went back to Christchurch Hospital for the second test and it became clear Jackson had a hearing issue of some sort. That was scary, because we didn’t know the extent of the problem.”

Further tests confirmed Jackson had hearing loss.

“Being told about Jackson’s hearing was quite overwhelming at the time, but now we know it’s not so bad, it’s not going to hold him back in life.”

Moulds of Jackson’s ears were taken (“Keeping him still was a challenge!”), and he received a hearing aid.

Anna says without the hearing aid Jackson can still hear, but it is like being underwater – he doesn’t hear clearly.

“Whereas with his hearing aid, he can hear the same as anyone else. Because his hearing loss was detected early his language development won’t be held back.”

Anna is very grateful for the support of their Adviser on Deaf Children Sue, who sees Jackson regularly and will continue to do so until he is 18. Sue works for the Ministry of Education’s Special Education Services and gives specialist support and guidance to Jackson and his family.

“When Jackson goes to a preschool and then on to school, Sue will make sure everything he needs to accommodate his hearing loss is in place.”

Anna’s message to parents about the newborn hearing test is simple.

“If you are in doubt whether to agree to the test, I’d say just do it! And if you need to go back for another test, make sure you do.

“Because Jackson’s hearing loss was picked up early, he won’t suffer from a speech delay later on. We had no history of hearing loss in the family, so no reason to suspect there might be anything wrong.

“Even if your child is found to have a hearing problem, it doesn’t have to be a huge disability. Because his was picked up early, Jackson is doing just fine!”