A 1-year-old girl in Texas has heard her parents’ voices for the first time in her short life, thanks to the fitting of cochlear implants. Though it may have been a minor surprise for the toddler, her overwhelmed mother was reduced to tears the moment her daughter responded to the first sounds her young brain registered.
Will and Anna Esler’s newborn baby daughter, Ayla, was born deaf, and had no concept of sound. Her parents had prepared themselves to accept that things would be different for their daughter growing up.
“We had to let go of some things, like her knowing the sound of our voices, the sound of music, the sound of laughter,” they said in a joint statement, as reported by Newsweek.
When they found that cochlear implants would be an option for Ayla, they tried their luck with much faith that it’d work.
As Ayla, with a green dummy in her mouth, sits on her mother’s lap in a room in Cooks Children’s Ear Nose and Throat hospital in Fort Worth, her audiologist turns on the cochlear implant.
Ayla’s eyes light up, and her head abruptly shakes in apparent surprise upon hearing for the first time. The little girl raises her right hand beside her ear. Her audiologist confirms, “Yeah! You heard it.”
Anna, overwhelmed with emotion at seeing her daughter receive the gift of hearing, breaks down in tears. Her gratitude and happiness are palpable.
She later said, “when I saw her responding to sound I was overwhelmed by thankfulness to God and to everyone else who has been a part of this journey.”
“…to see her hearing sound and enjoying it was just incredible,” the couple added.
The inner part of the ear, known as the cochlea, aids in sending auditory signals to the brain. Cochlear implants, also known as bionic ears, work for deaf people with severe or profound hearing loss, or whose auditory nerves are damaged.
Since being surgically fitted with the implants, Ayla, though a little overwhelmed at first, is responding positively to sounds.
“Sometimes she turns to sounds [which she had never done before], she dances to music, she’s starting to calm down when we sing to her if she’s upset,” her parents say. “We really couldn’t be more thankful for the new opportunities our little girl has.”
Watch the moment when Ayla hears for the first time:
Baby hears parents’ voices for first time—his reaction’s priceless when mom says ‘Hey buddy’