Anebel du Preez, 3, of Protea Heights recently underwent a three-hour long cochlear implant at Netcare N1 City Hospital in conjunction with the Netcare Foundation.
Her mother Sunelle du Preez said that when she gave birth to her daughter in 2015; she was not aware that her daughter had problems hearing.
“We realised something was wrong toward the end of last year and the beginning of this year. She didn’t have a hearing test at birth, she was diagnosed with a Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) at three months old and we were told operation would have a big impact on her and that she was a little behind, developmentally. I only realised later that she could not hear,” she said.
Ms du Preez said the cause of her daughters lack of hearing still remains a mystery.
“The cause of her hearing loss is still a mystery but we suspect that it was due to me having measles when I was pregnant with her,” she said.
Anebel went into surgery on Friday October 25 at Netcare N1 City Hospital.
“She was in theatre just after 7am and back in her room by 11am. It is a very strange feeling, you are stressed and excited on the same time, excited for the future but nervous for the operation,” Ms du Preez said.
Marketing manager at N1 City hospital Talita Rautenbach said the cochlear implant cost R70 500 which excludes the services of the surgeon and anaesthetist.
Ms du Preez said her daughter will now have a chance to improve her speech and language development. “Her hearing will also improve a lot. We were fortunate enough that the surgery was funded by Netcare Foundation, her implant was sponsored by Med-el and her surgeons, Professor James Loock and Dr Gavin Jones were willing to do the operation free of charge and that would not have happened if it wasn’t for her amazing Audiologist Surida Booysen,” she said.
Asked what her advice, is to other parents experiencing the same struggle, she said:
“I promise you it’s not easy, it’s a long road, but having an amazing team on your side, makes it a lot better”.
She added that Anebel is doing great and that she can’t wait for “switch on” which is scheduled in a month’s time.