A toddler who was born deaf has heard his mum say “I love you” for the first time.
In the heartwarming clip American youngster Kanon Newsome, at 19 months, is seen reacting to hearing mum Lindsey after he underwent surgery to insert cochlear implants which replace the function of the damaged ear, sending sound signals to the brain.
When Kanon was born he failed his newborn hearing test and further exams revealed he was totally deaf. He was diagnosed with sensorineural bilateral hearing loss and referred to an audiologist.
Doctors tried fitting him with aids from the age of five months but they had no effect. Later, he came under the care of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta where experts recommended cochlear implants.
The youngster went under the knife for four and a half hours as the implants were fitted. The first was activated in March and the second in May.
“When Kanon was younger I used to tell him I would give him my hearing if I could,” his mum said. “He couldn’t hear stuff that we take for granted, like birds chirping or the wind blowing or leaves in the trees.
“It was devastating. It felt like our world was crushed. It was the last thing we were expecting. Above all, it broke my heart that he had never heard us say, ‘I love you.’
“The implants have totally changed his world. When he was first able to hear it was one of the best days of my life. The fact that I could tell him I loved him was incredible - I cried so much. It means the world to me.”
She added: “It was nerve-wracking but amazing. There were 18 people in the room - the whole family drove to the hospital. My heart was beating so fast because my baby was about to hear for the first time.
“He had no idea what was happening. She turned it on and he scratched his forehead and grabbed his ear. At first it was a beeping sound, but then his daddy and I got to say, ‘Hey Kanon, we love you.’ And he heard it for the first time.
“He whined and cried and pulled the device off because he wasn’t sure what was going on. But after a few seconds he was figuring it all out.”
The youngster, who turns two next month, is now learning how to talk and has developed a love of blues and soul music.
Nurse Lindsey, 27, who lives with Kanon’s dad, delivery driver Justin, 27, and Kanon in Georgia, US, said her son’s world has “totally changed”.
“He loves slow blues music. He will close his eyes and just dance to it,” she said. “We love music and we listen to it all the time.
“He didn’t really pay attention to it when the first one was switched on but now he has both he will actually go to the radio and tell us to turn it on. It makes me so happy.”
Kanon is now having regular auditory therapy to help him learn how to talk and catch up with his classmates.
His first word was “hot” last month and he’s now picking up other words.