WSVN — A little girl never heard her parents voices or her dog bark until a life-changing surgery. 7’s Christine Cruz shows us how technology is making sure Kylie can hear.
It wasn’t until Kylie Lum was in pre-school that her teacher noticed something wasn’t right.
Patricia Lum: “She said ‘Mom, I don’t think Kylie can hear me’, and I said my husband has that too, it’s called selective hearing.”
But a hearing test revealed something much more serious.
Patricia Lum: “They said she’s deaf.”
Her parents were shocked and worried.
Patricia Lum: “What’s going to happen to her? What’s her future going to be?”
Looking back they realized they missed some signs.
Patricia Lum: “She would read your lips or if you tried to say something to her, she would try and see you face to face.”
They tried hearing aides but it wasn’t enough. Then, they heard about a cochlear implant.
Dr. Fred Telischi: “Between one in three children out of 1000 are born with severe enough hearing loss to require a cochlear implant.”
Kylie was taken to the University of Miami Ear Institute where the doctors explained how the implant works.
Dr. Ivette Cejas: “So cochlear implant is different in that it doesn’t provide acoustic sound like a hearing aid would but it provides stimulation through electrical current.”
Advanced Bionics sent us this animation to show you. The implant has two parts, an external and internal piece that converts sound.
Dr. Ivette Cejas: “That microphone picks up the sound, it converts it into electrical information and sends that through the cochlea.”
It was a big decision but Kylie had the surgery when she was four. Her anxious parents waited a month to find out if it worked.
Patricia Lum: “Will it not work?”
This YouTube video shows the moment the device was turned on.
Patricia Lum: “Activating her for the first time and she heard a sound and it was an immediate reaction. Everybody was crying, it was just really emotional.”
Her dad says most people don’t realize what it’s like to not hear any sound.
Brian Lum: “Things that we normally take for granted, a fork hitting a bowl, the dog slurping water out and all of a sudden she was hearing it.”
Kylie now goes to speech therapy once a week.
Dr. Ivette Cejas: “Because of this technology, she is really going to develop her listening and spoken language skills like any other child.”
She calls her cochlear implant her princess ear and doesn’t like to be without it.
Patricia Lum: “She takes off the exterior, she knows how to charge it, to change the battery.”
And the best part is it doesn’t slow her down a bit. A special device called The Neptune allows Kylie to swim and hear at the same time.
Her parents say the decision to get the implant has truly transformed their lives.
Patricia Lum: “We’ve always called her “Smiley Kylie”. No matter what in life, she’s just the happiest little girl ever.”
Kylie’s implant needs to be programmed every three to four months. In the plex, Christine Cruz, 7News.
For More Information:
Barton G. Kids Hear Now Cochlear Implant Family Resource Center at the University of Miami Ear Institute:
Tel: (305) 243-5044