Cook Childrens(AMARILLO, Texas) — A Texas mother burst into tears when she saw her 1-year-old daughter could hear sound for the first time.
The little girl was born unable to hear and doctors implanted a hearing device in May, but they did not activate it until this week.
Cook Children’s Hospital in Amarillo, Texas, released a video of the emotional moment when mother Anna Esler saw her daughter Ayla’s reaction to having the cochlear implants turned on for the first time. The toddler is seen excitedly bopping up and down in her mother’s lap and touching her ear while her mother starts crying behind her.
“When I saw her happy and dancing and responding to sound for the first time in her life I just lost it because we’ve been waiting a long time for that,” Anna Esler told Fox 4 News.
Ayla’s father Will Esler said that they weren’t sure how they would react – or how Ayla would react.
“Like Anna, I was excited and scared and nervous and hopeful all at the same time,” Will Esler said in a statement provided to Cook Childrens Hospital. “I thought she would probably cry and scream when her CIs were activated—and she did do that later when it became overwhelming—but to see her hearing sound and enjoying it was just incredible.”
The moving scene took place on June 19, and it came after months of research into possible solutions.
“Being deaf isn’t bad, it’s just different, and so we had spent a lot of time preparing ourselves for what life would be like without Ayla hearing,” the couple said in the statement. “We had to let go of some things, like her knowing the sound of our voices, the sound of music, the sound of laughter. We had to prepare ourselves to see her enjoy those things in a different way, through the vibration of them, to ‘hear’ with her eyes.”
“When we found out that cochlear implants were an option for her, sound became a reality for her again, and we are so grateful for that,” they said.
Ayla had the four-hour implant surgery in late May, and audiologist Lisa Christensen said that doctors try to have patients receive the implants at as young an age as possible to avoid delays in speech development, language and learning.
“If we can make that happen right around six moth of age then those kids don’t show sign of speech, language or learning delayed,” Christensen told ABC News. “They can compete with all the other normally hearing peers.”
The journey isn’t over for Ayla, however, as all children that go through such an implant surgery will have to undergo specialized speech therapy called auditory therapy and their families are also trained to teach their kids to speak by talking through things instead of just taking actions.
“They spend a lot of time educating the family on talking to the child,” she said.
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