George Broadhurst, 16, from Hoo, with his innovative Starkey’s Made for iPhone Halo i110 BTE hearing

Member Article

Innovative hearing aids help teenager to GCSE success

Rochester’s George Broadhurst is celebrating his GCSE results just like any other teenager, but his road to success has been harder than most.

George achieved excellent results, recording a grade A in GCSE Statistics and a grade C in Core Science which he actually took a year earlier than normal at Thames View School in Gravesend.

But George, 16, from Hoo, has overcome more challenges than many to get to this point in his life with innovations in hearing aid technology playing an important role.

Born prematurely at 27 weeks gestation, and after being resuscitated at birth, George was diagnosed with Ataxic Cerebral Palsy, which affects his mobility, balance and coordination.

A few years later he was also diagnosed with sensorineural hearing loss. His mother Gill Broadhurst explains: “George had passed a standard hearing test at eight months old, but from nine months he had to have physiotherapy and occupational therapy because his Ataxic Cerebral Palsy affected his mobility, so we concentrated on that.

“I first realised George had hearing problems when he was around three years old. Sometimes it felt like he was ignoring me, so George had an audiology test which revealed that he had hearing loss and the problem snowballed from there.”

George suffers from bi-lateral high frequency sensorineural hearing loss, which in George’s case means he can’t hear high frequency sounds, making listening to language almost impossible.

His hearing loss has also had a major impact on his social development and communication skills as he was unable to talk during his early years.

Gill also says: “His Ataxic Cerebral Palsy hinders articulation which causes clarity of speech issues, and this, combined with the hearing loss, meant that he couldn’t hear speech correctly either. Therefore his speech development was seriously delayed.

“Being unable to hear higher frequency sounds meant that he would not hear the full words, and subsequently confused words like ‘god’ and ‘dog’.”

George has used hearing aids since the age of three, but he found it difficult to chat with pals because the devices amplified every surrounding noise unselectively, which led to him becoming quiet and withdrawn.

George’s fortunes changed when his mother sent a message to London-based audiologist Jason Levy via Twitter, who suggested using Starkey’s Made for Iphone Halo i110 BTE hearing aids.

Gill explains: “The difference they have made is just fantastic. George has been able to integrate so much more which has had a huge effect on his confidence.”

Jason adds: “When Gill contacted me, I was keen to see how I could help George get the most out of his hearing. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to work with them and see the difference the Starkey Halo has made. It was worth seeing the smile on George’s face the first time I fitted the Halos to him, when he could hear Gill stirring the tea and talking to him from the kitchen.”

As a typical tech-savvy 16 year old, George uses an App called Trulink from Starkeys to control his hearing aids through his iPad and, using Bluetooth connectivity, can watch films, play games and listen to music with ease and comfort.

With positive GCSE results in the pipeline George continues to work towards his dream of a career in computers and technology. He said: “I have a very inquisitive mind and love to research things and get to know exactly how they work. I am passionate about Formula One, maths, all sciences and technology. My hearing aids have taken me a long way already and will certainly help me achieve things in the future.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by James Welton .

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