POLOKWANE (South Africa) – Roxy and Maurtis Botha became concerned about their son when, at two-years-old, he was not very receptive and never spoke to them. After a visit to a specialist, their biggest fear was confirmed – Little Owen is deaf.
“It felt like the end of the world. We have so many questions and no one to give us answers. It is really hard on my husband and we feel it is not fair to our child. He has mountains to climb and we cannot climb them for him,” Roxy says.
Owen was diagnosed with bilateral moderate severe sensory neural hearing loss earlier this year. That means his hearing in both ears is irreparable. Roxy says Owen is able to hear loud music or a cell phone ring but is completely deaf to other sounds.
“The professionals told us that it could be that he has water behind his eardrums so I took him for an auditory brainstem response (ABR) test in Pretoria three weeks after he failed a hearing test. This test usually takes 45 minutes, but it took almost three hours for Owen to complete,”
Roxy continues. During the interview, Owen asks his mother if she could change the channel so he can watch Barney and Friends and she obliges.
“This particular episode has high pitched sounds, the kind he can hear and he will turn the television louder at times,” she explains.
Owen is able to hear these sounds thanks to a hearing aid. Roxy says the doctors did not sugarcoat the severity of his situation, stating he cannot get better, only worse.
“Lisa van, at the Ear Institute in Pretoria offered us moral support.” Because she knows how expensive hearing aids are in South Africa and that not everyone is able to afford them for their children, Roxy is hosting a fundraiser.
“To buy one hearing aid for a child costs about R13,000 and most children need two. To test these aids costs about R5,000. The hearing aids need batteries then the child will need speech therapy – the list of expenses goes on and on. We want to assist people who cannot afford this but want the best for their children,” she explains.
The family receives a lot of support from family and friends, as well as, The High Hopes Foundation, and Thrive Parent Support.
Image credit: Roxy and Maurtis Botha
(If you would like to help Owen, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org)
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