Baby, Can You Hear Me? (Video)

Cochlear implants bring a little boy the joy of sound

child with cochlear implants

Just a few months ago, 1-year-old Mason Henoch was way behind in his ability to communicate. Wendy Henoch, Mason’s mom, said she and her husband Matt knew something was wrong, but didn’t realize how severe the problem was.

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Around his first birthday, the couple took Mason to Cleveland Clinic, where he was diagnosed with severe hearing loss in both ears.

A way to break the silence

Cleveland Clinic doctors determined Mason was a candidate for cochlear implants, a series of electrodes inserted directly into the cochlea, or inner ear. The implants are a device that may restore some hearing to people with substantial hearing loss.

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Auditory-verbal therapist Donald Goldberg, PhD, treated Mason, and is part of the Hearing Implant Program team, comprised of audiologists, surgeons and an auditory-visual therapist. The team recommended the surgery.

“Every time I see the surgeon put in the electrodes, I actually get chills thinking how that’s going to give access to sound,” says Dr. Goldberg.

The surgery took eight hours for both ears.

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Hearing sounds for the first time

For the cochlear implants to work, external processors must be attached to Mason’s head and ears. The processors send a radio signal to the series of 22 electrical leads implanted in Mason’s inner ear. He then interprets these electrical impulses as sound.

Two weeks after the surgery, Mason’s implants were activated. Finally, for the first time, he could experience sounds. Within just a few weeks of the activation, Mason spoke his first words.

Now Mason and his family are enjoying not just the sights, but the sounds, of the holiday season — and all the seasons to come.

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