Incredible footage captures a profoundly deaf nine-month-old boy hearing his mum and dad for the first time, following surgery.
Everett Colley was born unable to hear and had to learn sign language to communicate with his parents Ashley and Zachary.
But in early December, the youngster underwent cochlear implant surgery and two weeks later had an exterior part placed on, which meant he could hear.
A video captured on December 20 shows Everett smiling and nuzzling his face into his mum’s chest, as he hears his parents for the first time.
His mum Ashley, from Virginia, USA, said: ‘I think it’s mainly my husband’s voice that he seems to hear more than mine, but for him to hear that and go to me for comfort, it’s beautiful.’
Shortly after Everett was born in February, he failed his newborn hearing test.
But Ashley wasn’t too worried as her other children – seven-year-old Abel, five-year-old Greyson and three-year-old Joel – hadn’t passed this either.
Initially, doctors thought it might be due to fluid build-up in Everett’s ear – but when Ashley returned a month later, she found out this wasn’t the case.
‘Then I went back for an auditory brain response test and that’s when she [the doctor] pulled her chair up and she said he has profound hearing loss,’ explains 29-year-old Ashley.
‘That’s all I remember, and everything else was a blur, I felt I was kind of looking through her.
‘It doesn’t run in the family and it’s hard not to think of all the bad things at first, so I was very much in shock.
‘Because of Covid I was by myself, my husband was waiting in the car, and I just remember struggling to get out of the hospital and breaking down as soon as I saw him.’
However, Ashley and Zachary were told their son qualified for cochlear implant surgery – where a small electronic device is placed under the skin behind the ear, and attached to an external microphone.
This device has wires attached to the cochlear, and works by converting sound picked up by the microphone into electrical impulses, which are sent directly to the brain.
So on December 6, Everett underwent a four-hour surgery at the Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters.
Then two weeks later, he received the second part of the procedure – and heard his parents speak for the first time.
Now, little Everett loves being able to hear his family and listen to music.
Ashley adds that the experience has definitely given the family a wake-up-call.
She says: ‘Instead of thinking about hearing loss as a bad thing, we think of it as a blessing.
‘Hearing is something we take for granted, but try not to hark on the bad things – it’s a beautiful life that they live.’
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