It was Anthony Colling not singing along with an AFL theme song that set alarm bells ringing for his father Graham. Anthony has Trisomy 21 (Down syndrome) and one day Graham noticed he wasn’t responding to environmental sounds or enjoying TV and music like he usually does.
“He was watching football and when the team wins they sing the theme song; he’s got a microphone and sings along with them but he wasn’t doing it,” Graham said.
Bendigo Health Audiologist Johanna Tan said Anthony was taken to a private clinic for tests but did not respond to any sounds even at maximum presentation levels.
After further testing, Hearing Australia phoned to see if the Interacoustic Eclipse could determine the type and degree of his hearing loss, she said. The machine was funded through Bendigo Health Fundraising and Foundation’s Christmas Appeal.
“Using our equipment I could determine Anthony’s hearing levels without him having to provide behavioural input. Thankfully, the reason for the drop in his hearing levels was congestion-related and should be temporary.”
In Down syndrome, the bronchial passage are narrow and a build-up of mucous can effect hearing, Graham said. “Normally Anthony would react badly to tests but there was no problem with the Eclipse.”
Recording pads are placed on the patient’s head and connected to the Eclipse. Ear plugs are then used to play sounds which go to the nerves and their responses are picked up by the pads and fed back to the computer.
“A sudden hearing loss can be an emergency that requires urgent medical intervention if the hearing loss involves the cells in the inner ear, so it was vital to determine what kind of loss he had,” Johanna said. “We would not have been able to gather the information we had about Anthony’s hearing levels if we did not have access to this equipment.”
“It’s made a huge difference to Anthony as he can now hear using a temporary hearing aid,” Graham said