Louis’ hearing loss is a genetic issue and typically leads to progressive hearing loss, leading to complete deafness. For the first few years he was able to access a full range of sound using hearing aids, however the hearing loss became progressively worse and by the time he was 7, we were referred for cochlea implants. As of October 2019 we are now going through the consultation process for this.

We first discovered Louis had a hearing loss when he was 18 months old, when he had a particularly bad cold and ear infection and we realized that he was not hearing us well. We had also become concerned that he was very late in speaking. Tests confirmed a moderate loss in both ears and hearing aids were provided by the NHS.

Discovering that Louis had a hearing loss was incredibly upsetting. We felt guilty that we had not noticed the issue before, and we wanted to do everything to help him catch up with his speech, which was behind that of typical children of his age.

Auditory Verbal therapy equipped us with the right tools and techniques to help Louis develop his auditory memory and speech. We feel it really fast-tracked his speaking and his sentence construction, and gave him a range of skills that have stayed with him as he started school. He has developed amazing levels of concentration and uses a rich vocabulary which continues to amaze us.

As a family we felt that AV provided a route map for supporting Louis and also gave us the constant reassurance that we needed to confirm we were helping him as best we could. Feeling that we were actively supporting him in a structured way, and seeing the results before our eyes was an amazing and moving experience for us.

Without AV’s support we would not have known how best to help Louis beyond traditional speech therapy, which was not appropriate at his young age. We didn’t wait until he fell behind or struggled at nursery or school; we wanted to do everything possible to support his speech development. AV provided the means for us to do just that.

We were told about AV when we visited a specialist hearing testing centre. They informed us how AV could help develop Louis’ auditory memory skills and support his speech development once he has his hearing aids fitted. The consultant was a great advocate of the AV programme and strongly recommended we consider it.

Starting the AV programme was a really supportive process. The staff were amazing and we felt in very good hands from the start. We also felt relieved that we were doing something positive to help Louis, which was so important for us at a difficult time.

If there is one thing that stands out for us having been through the AV programme, it’s that AVUK never viewed his hearing loss as a disability or a barrier. Their goal was to ensure that he developed his speech and the auditory memory and skills that support speech, so that he would be best equipped for school and so that he would be able to achieve his full potential. Louis continues to amaze us with how well he speaks, reads and how well he is doing at school.

Having started AV thinking that Louis had fallen behind in his development, we completed the programme thinking that he had not only caught up, but that he was in many ways ahead of his full-hearing peers. That head start has served him so very well and the first three years of his school journey have been very successful as a result. That AV equipped us to support Louis so well, and that the team did so in such an understanding and empathetic manner, is something we will always be incredibly grateful for.

- Gary, Louis’ dad