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November 8, 2002

Girl Begins Hearing With Cochlear Implants

From: WVTM, AL
Nov. 8, 2002

2-Year-Old Begins Speech Therapy

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Science is working miracles for a 2-year-old girl in Birmingham. McKenzie McGuire received cochlear implants three weeks ago at Children's Hospital. Her doctor turned them on for the first time Thursday.

"It's an electronic device with electrode coils in the cochlea and stimulates the hearing nerve," said Dr. Audie Woolley.

McKenzie's implants will be broken in gradually. The 2-year-old has been wearing hearing aids that help her with sounds so hearing with the implants will not come as a total shock, Woolley said.

But the little girl still has an intensive year of speech therapy and an additional seven to eight years of therapy beyond the initial year.

In a speech exercise Thursday, McKenzie's doctor made different noises and she tried to emulate them.

It was an exciting day for the whole family.

"She has a syndrome called enlarged fascicular aqueduct. She'll hear forever now, where as before she could have gone deaf in both ears," said Sarah McGuire, McKenzie's mother.

Doctors say parents need to test their children's hearing early. At home they recommend clapping to make sure your child's head turns in reaction.

Copyright 2002 by All rights reserved.