HE couldn't express it through words, but the look of joy on James Morse's face was undeniable when his hearing aid was first turned on.
Tears of joy filled the four-year-old's eyes eight months ago and even the sound of the wind brought excitement as he walked back to the car.
But receiving hearing aids was only the beginning for James and his sister Lucy, aged two, who will both move to Melbourne with mother Tara next year to make up for the years of speech development lost before they were diagnosed with a hearing impairment.
It won't be easy, with father Mathew Morse remaining in Warrnambool to manage his architectural business, but Tara said it was a necessary sacrifice to improve their children's speech.
She said enrolling James and Lucy at Taralye, an oral language centre for deaf children, meant they could attend a kindergarten with speech pathologists working to bring their verbal speech skills up to the standard for their age.
"Both wouldn't talk before they got their hearing aids," she said.
"They were a bit lost in the world, not participating.
"Since they got hearing aids background noise is still an issue... but they're basically going to be normal kids and go to a normal school."
Mathew said while it had been tough to find that not one but two of their three young children were deaf, it was a relief to discover their lack of speech was not due to the chronic neurological disorder known as development dyspraxia.
"They've always been social and we could tell as soon as they started talking they are clever and understand everything.
"One of the reasons we weren't onto it right away is because James was reading lips and tricking the therapists.
"You can tell their other senses compensate for the hearing impairment - they read lips and read body movement really well.
"With James it was good to actually find out why he was delayed with his development.
"There are much worse things that can happen and deafness is fairly minor in comparison."
As part of Hearing Awareness Weak, the couple contacted The Standard to show people that young children with hearing impairments need much more than a hearing aid to get past their disability.
"When you have kids with hearing impairments there's no quick fix.
"Lots of people aren't aware and assume if you put a hearing aid in it's all fixed, but James has lost four years of his life where he hasn't heard a thing.
"There's a lot of work from parents and specialists to get them talking to a point where they are seen as normal."
Mathew and Tara's youngest child, nine-month-old Ryan, is too young to take a hearing test but so far has not appeared to show the same signs of deafness as his siblings.