IT was not until moving to Perth a couple of years ago that Alyssa Cranston’s hearing impairment was discovered.
The Kinross 12-year-old was diagnosed with central auditory processing disorder after it was noticed by her teachers at Currambine Primary School.
Mother Christine said her daughter struggled with school from a young age and had previously worked with a speech pathologist in Sydney but credited her current school with bringing the real issue to their attention.
Alyssa’s hearing tests were normal but she was found to have the disorder, which means she finds it difficult to hear words clearly when there is background noise such as in the classroom.
The disorder is not a form of hearing loss but rather is a problem with how the brain processes what the ear hears.
“As she was going up in classes she was falling further and further behind,” Mrs Cranston said.
The family was recommended to purchase a listening device, where Alyssa wears hearing aids connected to a microphone worn by her teacher, enabling her to hear clearly what is being said.
Mrs Cranston said it had made a big difference since Alyssa started using it in April.
“She’s more alert,” she said.
“Since she got the device, she’s got a better understanding of things.”
Alyssa also has a coloured card on her desk that she can turn over to let her teacher know she didn’t understand the instructions.
Mrs Cranston said she and her husband were eager to buy the device for her daughter before she started high school to make things easier but were troubled by the costs.
The initial test was expensive and the device costed $2500, compounded by the fact Mrs Cranston had been struggling with her own health issues and about the same time was told she needed hearing aids.
They decided their “last resort” was to take out a personal loan through SocietyOne, which uses marketplace lending that connects borrowers with private investors.
“At the time it really helped us out,” she said.
“She basically needs this otherwise she would fall further and further behind.
“It’s just helped us out so much.”