Becoming one of the youngest recipients of a cochlear implant, baby Ireland was overwhelmed to hear her parents speak for the first time.
Eleven-month-old baby Ireland Gault was more than a little unsure when after almost a year on Earth without any sounds, her parents suddenly had voices she’d never heard before. Born with profound deafness, Ireland has never been able to hear any sounds, until in February she became one of the youngest recipients of two cochlear implants that allowed her to finally hear what her parents Courtney Duke and Will Gault were saying to her.
There was plenty of confusion and tears as the little girl was comforted by her parents who were themselves full of tears of joy on knowing that Ireland was now able to hear.
The family, based in Manitoba, Canada, are now looking forward to hearing Ireland's first words with the help of a listening and spoken language specialist. It is expected that having had her deafness identified at an early age, she will be able to catch up in her speaking and listening skills by the time she reaches school-going age. Infants are generally not identified for a cochlear implant until they are two years old.
“It’s such a great feeling that she’s getting that sound earlier. She has that chance to catch up and she’ll be able to participate in every day normal activities,” said Kristy Mackie, Ireland’s audiologist.
“It was tears of joy,” Duke told CTV News. “It wasn’t hurting her and it was a new experience for her.”
“This is huge. From day one, this is what we wanted for her so today it’s become possible,” her father added.
“Thank God it was because we’re not sure where we would have been because Ireland, she does everything normal like an 11-month-old would do.”
Ireland is now fitted with implants, electronic devices surgically implanted into the skull and inner ear with an external piece that is worn around her ear. She will have to ear the external piece as much as possible.