Hearing Health in Mackay

12 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids from Mackay had vital Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) surgery late last month thanks to an innovative collaboration between CheckUP, Mackay Mater Hospital and ENT surgeon Dr Luke Reid.

The three organisations worked together to get public patients seen by private provider Dr Reid, dramatically reducing wait time and ensuring the surgery could take place in the families’ home town.

The combination of a local service and reduced waiting time has garnered a positive response from families involved in the surgeries.

‘It is so good to finally get seen and even better that he is getting surgery to correct his hearing and hopefully things get better for him,’ said Latoya Sorenson, mum of three – year – old Talan (pictured).

 ‘It is great he can have surgery in Mackay and doesn’t have to travel.’

Talan has experienced hearing problems on and off since birth, with things deteriorating over the last two years.

Many trips to doctors and many courses of antibiotics made no difference to Talan’s hearing.

‘The impact of his hearing loss is noticeable,’ explained Latoya.

‘He doesn’t hear as well as other kids, talks loudly as he can’t hear himself, has speech and developmental delays and is missing milestones.’

Dr Reid drained Talan’s ears, inserted grommets and removed his adenoids.

‘Having a mild to moderate hearing loss as a result of glue ear significantly impacts on speech and language development and school participation,’ Dr Reid said.

‘Talan was no exception to this, as such being able to restore his hearing through surgery with Check Up is a great outcome for him and his family.’

Linken Verburg, aged one, was an even smaller patient. Born 10 weeks premmie, Linken suffers from long term breathing problems and a floppy trachea and larynx.

This has resulted in many trips to the doctor and ED.

Linken’s dad, Yahn, said local surgery meant his family could stay together.

‘It means so much to have the surgery locally as we don’t have to leave our other kids.’

‘To be able to be seen so fast, and at home, is really great. I feel so relieved that we can finally get some answers.’

Dr Reid said Linken’s frequent presentations to the Mackay Base Hospital Emergency Department due to breathing issues placed a significant strain on Linken and his parents. 

‘Thanks to CheckUP we were able to diagnose a benign condition that put everyone’s mind at ease.’

‘We have been very pleased and excited to be involved in this innovative program.  We have had great outcomes and look forward to bringing this service to other children.’