A 1-year-old heard for the first time thanks to a cochlear implant, and her reaction was absolutely priceless.
Ayla Esler was born without the ability to hear. She failed both of her hearing tests when she was born a little over a year ago and parents Anna and Will were coming to terms with the fact that their little girl may never be able to hear or speak.
But then the Amarillo Texas family discovered Cook’s Children’s Hospital in nearby Fort Worth. The hospital has a program to assist families with profoundly deaf children, providing them with cochlear implants and allowing them to hear for the first time. With financial assistance available to those with no coverage for such implants, the Esler’s had nothing to lose and Ayla had everything to gain.
So they signed Ayla up to receive a cochlear implant. The implant directly stimulates the auditory nerve, bypassing the normal biology that allows for hearing and replacing it with a microphone and transmitter system. Part of the implant is embedded just outside the skull, while the external microphone can be upgraded as time goes on and technology improves.
“We like to have kids early because when we do that, we find that those kids aren't delayed in speech, language, and learning and they compete with all their other hearing peers,” Cook Children’s Hospital audiologist Lisa Christensen told Fox News.
After a 4 hour surgery, the family gathered in Christensen’s office to turn on the cochlear implant for the first time. Ayla’s reaction was recorded and posted to the hospital’s Facebook page.
Ayla’s reaction was too sweet for words.
Without ever having used her ears before, she holds up a hand to her right ear as though to signify to everyone around her that she was having some difficulty hearing, but that she could now in fact hear. Then she smiles and starts wiggling uncontrollably at the brand new stimulation.
Momma Anna can’t hold back her tears and openly weeps as her daughter hears for the first time. Which is totally understandable. I mean, just look at that sweet little peanut!
Ayla has some catching up to do as she’s gone a year without hearing. But babies learn fast. She’s already responding to music and her mother’s voice, and audiologists and experts expect Ayla to be on track for her first words in the coming months.