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November 20, 2003

Deaf Toddler Hears with Cochlear Implant

From: WNEP-TV, PA - Nov 20, 2003

A Lackawanna County toddler who is deaf can now hear and speak. How is that possible? A cochlear implant is the answer. It's an electronic device that allows the deaf to hear. No newborn in this state can leave the hospital without a hearing test and that test is why a little girl can hear today.

Kaylee Lyons loves to play. Unless you were told, there's no way you would know the two year old is profoundly deaf. That's why her mother is so glad there are early newborn screenings, "We started with the speech therapist right away and started with sign language and now she signs, and now with the cochlear implant she's starting to say some things and really, if we didn't know, she would have been really far behind, and she would have missed a lot."

Linda Hurwitz is a speech and language pathologist from the Scranton School for the Deaf. Learning Sign Language from birth helps Kaylee understand spoken words she hears now, with the cochlear implant, "Now with the cochlear implant, what has opened up is the auditory channel, she now has access to sound and she can learn to listen."

The Lackawanna County Early Intervention Program provides the lessons for Kaylee and her mother.

Hurwitz says the signing done by all is another extra measure of protection for little Kaylee, "Her family uses Sign also, and they're concerned when the cochlear implant is not on, when she's swimming, when she's in the bath tub, you can't wear the cochlear implant they'll always have a way to communicate with her."

What difference has Jenifer noticed in Kaylee's communication since the implants? "Oh my gosh, lots between Signing and now starting to say some words, she just, especially recently, has picked up on everything, like you say one word, for instance, apple, she learned it in one day."

Jenifer hopes Kaylee's story will encouage other mothers to deaf infants to consider a cochlear implant.

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