Aaron’s deafening plea

Keegan Turner and Alex Halters with their son Aaron Halters in their home in Maraisburg. Photo: Sonwabile Antonie

While most two-year-olds are exploring the world of sound, music and melodies, little Aaron Halters lives in a world of complete silence. However, with the help of the community, this can soon change, as his parents Alex Halters and Keegan Turner are planning a variety of fundraising activities to help their son.

Aaron was born with bilateral severe-profound Sensori-Neural loss, a type of hearing loss, or deafness, in which the root cause lies in the inner ear (cochlea and associated structures), vestibulocochlear nerve (cranial nerve VIII), and central auditory processing centers of the brain.This means he cannot hear and hearing aids are inefficient.

However this is not the only ailment Aaron has, he was also born with Branchio-Oto-Renal syndrome, a genetic condition that typically disrupts the development of tissues in the neck and causes malformations of the ears and kidneys.

The one kidney operates at 35-percent capacity.

Not all hope is lost as kidney specialist has advised that in time to come he would need a kidney transplant.

But before that, audiologist and speech therapist have both recommended Aaron undergo surgery for bilateral Cochlear Implants.

He has had had MRI and CT scans done and surgeons have given the go head for the procedure to be done.

However, the problem is that according to the Johannesburg Cochlear Implant Centre, the costs of the devices is R517 020 and the family’s medical aid only covers R197 000.

This means there will be a shortfall of R320 020 and this amount does not include the added medical costs such as hospitalisation, speech therapy and possible occupational therapy.

This is why family and friends have come together and are trying to raise enough funds for the first operation by the end of next month.

From a family fun day and an indoor soccer tournament to a high tea and a benefit concert.

Due to his kidney disease doctors will not be able to do both implants in one operation as this could result in kidney failure.

But they will instead do the first one at the end of next month and the other one 6 months after.

The reason the family are rushing is because doctors have recommended Aaron does the surgeries this year before he turns three which will give him three years to recuperate from all the operations and following therapy so he can have a chance at going to a mainstream school.

“After his birth we stayed at the hospital for a week because they found he had only one kidney and it had cysts. The doctors were surprised that his condition was not detected while he was in the womb as my gynecologist should have noticed it.

Then after two-years, his parents were getting concerned that Aaron had not started talking and more importantly did not respond when being called.

Then last year November during a routine pediatric check-up they asked they doctor what was wrong and he recommended them to Aaron to have his hearing checked.

He did not have his hearing tested at birth as is supposed to be the norm, which resulted in his hearing loss only being last year.

This was new to us and it came as a huge emotional shock to us. It was heartbreaking to know that our first child was suffering and we couldn’t help him.

“But our family and friends has been a huge pillar of support in our lives. Our parents Trevor and Debbie Halters and Andrula Jansen have been there with us every step of the way. They have helped us to make decisions and do what is best for our son,” they said.

The family has met another two year-old, four-year-old and matriculant who have received the cochlear implant with positive results.

“Meeting these children has given us hope that things will work out for young Aaron. There are so many things stacked against him but we have to fight to give him an opportunity to live in a wider world. His safety is the most important thing to us and if he can hear then we will have achieved that. Children run into dangerous situations all the time and we can’t call his name to warn him as he cannot hear us,” they said.

Should you require any further information, please contact:

1. Fundraising project head: Clarina Kruger – 072 385 0434 / [email protected]

2. Grandmother: 0843855389 / [email protected]

Please visit the “Legacy of Hearing in Support of Aaron Benjamin Halters” Facebook page.



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Sonwabile Antonie

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