When Hunter Brasington was born he failed his newborn hearing test.
"They thought it was just the machine playing up so it was a bit of shock to the system when we found out that he did have hearing loss," said mum Ally Small, who lives in Gregory Hills.
"As you can imagine, it was quite overwhelming at the start."
To coincide with Loud Shirt Day - The Shepherd Centre's annual fundraiser on October 22 - Miss Small is raising awareness about the crucial services for children with hearing loss that are provided by The Shepherd Centre.
Hunter, who turned one in July, attended individual and group sessions and with only 50 per cent of hearing in both ears can already imitate a range of sounds thanks to the support provided.
"The Shepherd Centre has been really helpful in increasing our understanding of hearing loss and re-assuring us that Hunter will be able to have a bright future and a normal life going through his life stages on par with his peers," Miss Small said.
"They have been really proactive in reassuring myself and partner Michael. The reassurance that it will be fine and they will be there to support you is what you need to hear.
"The group session over Zoom with families with similarly age children gave us lots of information and we learnt so much."
Hunter, who has damaged hair cells in the inner ear, now attends fortnightly sessions where the focus is on sounds.
"We really focus on making sure Hunter is open to all the sounds each day and being over the top with speaking and singing," Miss Small said.
"We are lucky we caught it so early and hopefully he shouldn't have trouble speaking. With his type of hearing loss, it shouldn't get any better or get any worse."
Events like Loud Shirt Day are vital to ensure The Shepherd Centre can continue to help the more than 600 families across NSW, ACT and Tasmania who turn to organisation each year for assistance in raising children with hearing loss to reach their full potential.
Services provided by The Shepherd Centre cost almost $14,000 per year per child and only 30 per cent is funded by the government.
- Details/donate: loudshirtday.org.au.