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March 17, 2005

Two deaf siblings to hear again

From: Press-Enterprise - Riverside,CA,USA - Mar 17, 2005

MENIFEE: An Australian company will replace their stolen hearing devices free of charge.

By ROCKY SALMON / The Press-Enterprise

MENIFEE - Two Menifee boys are getting their hearing back.

Joshua and Brandon Alferez had their hearing devices stolen in Temecula last Sunday.

The manufacturer of the devices, Australia-based Cochlear, is sending the Alferezes two of the $7,000 devices free of charge.

"I'm overexcited," said the boys' mother, Cindy Alferez. "I'm ecstatic, I think."

The devices were stolen Sunday morning when Cindy Alferez borrowed her mother's Toyota 4Runner to go to a housewarming party off Mira Loma Drive in Temecula.

When Alferez returned to the sport utility vehicle, she disovered someone had broken the rear passenger window and stolen two briefcases loaded with hearing devices costing about $30,000. Police have yet to find the person responsible.

Joshua, 8, and Brandon, 6, need the equipment to hear. The two boys were born deaf and had devices surgically implanted. The Nucleus 3 hearing devices convert sound to electrical energy and stimulate the nerves, allowing the boys to hear.

On Thursday, the family's doctor learned that the boys would be getting replacements for the $7,000 devices.

"It's pretty exciting that the company would agree to do that," said Dr. Joan Hewitt, the boys' audiologist.

Officials at Cochlear said the replacements are covered under their insurance. The company is not sending accessories; Alferez must purchase those.

Cochlear officials said the same thing happened to a family in Las Vegas before Christmas.

The company's insurance paid for new replacements.

Cochlear Hearing Devices

The manufacturer of hearing devices stolen from Joshua and Brandon Alferez is replacing the two processors free.

Cost: $7,000 each

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