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December 27, 2002

"Do You Hear What I Hear?": A Christmas Miracle

From: WSET, VA - 27 Dec 2002

Reporter: Liz Bryant Posted By: Tab O'Neal

Charlottesville, VA - Christmas miracles don't come easy. But the University of Virginia Health System didn't let that stop them from making quite a few of their own this season.

Staff members at U.Va. Health System may be getting presents, but three-and-a-half-year-old Jason Quakenbush got the real gift. Just in time for Christmas, Jason received the cochlear implant allowing him to hear and interpret sound better than he ever could with his hearing aids.

Jenny Quakenbush, Mother - "It was really a relief. I was glad to see it finally happen and I feel like we're finally on the right track with him. I think the hearing aids helped him, I know the hearing aids helped him up to a point, but it's been a while that he's been getting much gain from them at all. I think he maxed out his potential usage with them."

Jason was diagnosed with auditory neuropathy when he was 18 months old. He could detect sound, but it wasn't meaningful. The cochlear implant, electrodes that stimulate the inner ear, along with auditory verbal therapy, will help Jason to conquer speech.

Lori Plank, Speech-Language Pathologist - "The premise of auditory verbal therapy is that children even with the most severe to profound hearing losses can be taught to listen and use their hearing to process sound, to process speech, to develop spoken language."

Jenny Quakenbush - "He is a great worker. He loves to listen and I feel like he's been given this. This is his gift. It's a gift for all of us really and I'm really looking forward to it."

Jason still has a journey ahead of him. With his hearing aids he could hear vowels, but consonants weren't clear. With the cochlear implant, Jason now repeats word sounds that he couldn't before. It's the best Christmas present the Quakenbushes could have imagined for Jason and it's certainly all they ever wanted.

Copyright 2002 WSET, Inc.