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December 20, 2002

Deaf toddler hears first sounds

From: Ananova, UK - 20 Dec 2002

A deaf toddler has heard her first sounds during a Christmas shopping trip with her mother.

Eleanor Fitter heard her first sounds after squeezing a 'talking' teddy bear

Eleanor Fitter, two, from Andover, Hampshire heard the sounds after squeezing a 'talking' teddy bear at their local supermarket.

She underwent a £30,000 cochlear implant operation earlier this year after an anonymous donor came forward.

Despite a series of 'tuning up' procedures, the two-year-old showed little sign of hearing a sound.

But that changed when Eleanor was drawn to a little brown bear called Norton during the visit to the store.

She gave Norton a squeeze and he growled: ''Time to exercise - I have to keep my bear belly in shape!''

Eleanor's face lit up and she let out a burst of laughter - the first time she had ever registered hearing a sound.

Tracy said: ''Her face quite literally lit up. Eleanor's eyes went wide, she blushed with pure joy and she burst out laughing.It was a quite magical moment and she was completely captivated.

''She looked beautiful - she was laughing and screaming, holding the bear to her ear. She just couldn't believe that she could hear it. One of the wonderful things about being a parent is that you get to watch your children experience things for the first time.

''This was extra special because Eleanor had been in a world of silence for two years. It was an incredible moment.''

Copyright © 2002 Ananova Ltd