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Deaf three-year-old girl bursts into tears and points to her ear when she hears her parents' voices for the first time in heartwarming footage

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 10/24/2019 William Cole For Mailonline

Q'ela Pierce, aged three, puts her hand up to her head as her parents turn on her cochlear hearing device at their home in Florida

Q'ela Pierce, aged three, puts her hand up to her head as her parents turn on her cochlear hearing device at their home in Florida
© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited
A toddler was overcome with emotion as she was able to hear her mother and father's voices for the first time in her life.

Q'ela Pierce, aged three, who had been deaf since birth, was recorded playing with her toys at the magical moment her cochlear implant was switched on. 

She is seen immediately putting her hands to her head before bursting into tears as she takes in sounds for the first time.

Despite her reaction, the activation did not hurt Q'ela, however - it was simply the shock to hear her parents, Nikitia Vasser, 33, and Quaneef Pierce, 25.

After taking a minute to calm her down, her father Quaneef slowly says his daughter's name, which immediately attracts her attention.

Having now overcome the initial shock, Q'ela puts her hands to her head but reacts with excitement at hearing father say her name.

The tearful moment, captured by Quaneef, marked the end of a long journey for the family, who were told when Q'ela was born that she had failed her newborn screening.

After failing another test a few months later and then not responding well to speech and language through hearing aids, Q'ela became a candidate for a cochlear implant in January.

Her surgery took place on August 29 in Nemours Children's Hospital, Orlando, Florida, but it wasn't until October 3, when her incision had fully healed, that her family were able to attend the activation.

In the weeks since the activation, Nikitia said her daughter has started to recognize nature sounds, though she is still unable to understand where human speech is coming from.

After Quaneef shared the video on Facebook - declaring, 'First time hearing and it broke my heart' - the parents have received an outpouring of well wishes as their video went viral.

Nikitia, from Florida, said: 'This journey has been really rough, but I never gave up hope so I was ecstatic and emotional during the activation.

'Since activation my family has been so excited, and everyone works on speech with Q'ela and makes sure she keeps her coil attached to her head.

'She's doing well. She still doesn't understand when we speak that the sound she's hearing is coming from us, but she recognizes nature sounds.

'I hope this video lets others know there is hope for you or your loved one to hear again.'

HOW DOES A TRADITIONAL COCHLEAR IMPLANT WORK? 

Cochlear implants are small hearing devices fitted under the skin behind the ear during surgery.

They have an external sound processor and internal parts, including a receiver coil, an electronics package and a long wire with electrodes on it (an electrode array).

The external processor takes in sound, analyses it and then converts it to signals that are transmitted across the skin to an internal receiver-stimulator, which sends the signals along the electrode array into a part of the inner ear called the cochlea.

The signal is then sent to the brain along the hearing nerve as normal.

This means cochlear implants are only suitable for people whose hearing nerves are functioning normally.

The implants cannot restore normal hearing but they can give a deaf person a good representation of sounds, helping them understand speech.

Whereas hearing aids amplify sound so they can be detected by damaged ears, cochlear implants bypass damaged parts of the ear and directly stimulate the auditory nerve.

Signals generated by the implant are sent via the auditory nerve to the brain, which recognizes the signals as sound.

Hearing through an implant is different from normal hearing and takes time to get used to it.

It allows people to recognize warning signals, understand their environment and enjoy conversations with people.

If a cochlear implant is recommended, it will be inserted into the ear (or both ears) during an operation and switched on a few weeks later.

Source: NHS Choices

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