One-Year-Old Hears for the First Time

One-Year-Old Hears for the First Time

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Ed Yeates reportingA one-year-old boy from Evanston, Wyo., is hearing for the first time, following an implant at Primary Children's Hospital.

About 100,000 people have chochlear implants, but once in while, Advanced Bionics joins with the Gift of Hearing Foundation to donate this device to someone special. Enter Daniel Marshall. Last month doctors at Primary Children's Hospital implanted the device just behind his ear.

Now, six weeks later, audiologist Cache Pitt has turned it on. Since Daniel's brain has never interpreted sound before, the translation of speech from a digital signal to his auditory nerves will take time. Dr. Pitt simply looks for a reaction at this early stage. For some kids who've been deaf since birth, it's subtle.

Daniel's brain senses the signals, perhaps associating what he sees with the sound -- a turn of the head, a smile.

Dr. Cache Pitt, an audiologist at Primary Children's Medical Center, said, "Daniel has never been able to hear his parents say, ‘I love you,' things like that, to the point that it's meaningful."

Now the learning begins with lots of dialogue and rehab. The words you and I hear now, Daniel has never heard. His world has been silent.

Dr. Pitt said, "The chochlear implant still does not restore perfect hearing, but it gets close to it."

Six months from now Daniel should be interpreting words and talking himself.

His mother, Kim, said, "It's going to be amazing. I didn't think he would ever know my voice. It will really be awe-inspiring to me."

We'll be following Daniel and his parents to see that transformation as it unfolds.

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