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Video: the moment a Devon toddler hears mother's voice for first time

By Mid Devon Gazette  |  Posted: April 07, 2014

Chloe Ring

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This video shows the heart-warming moment a Devon toddler heard her mother's voice for the first time.

Chloe Ring’s tiny head bobbed up and down and a smile swept across her face and as she heard her first noises and words at the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children.

And now, her mother, Jane, says she will never forget the day her then 14-month-old daughter’s life was opened up to the world.

Before the cochlear implants were fitted, she spent her days lying on her back at the family’s home in Exeter trying to make sense of her life without sound or sight.

Chloe, now five, was born deaf and blind, a diagnosis that shocked her parents and doctors, who still do not understand what has caused the deaf-blindness.

Mrs Ring said “Those first few days are all a bit of a blur, in a way. You are trying to deal with what’s happening and face it, but everything happens so fast. We were immediately referred to a raft of specialists, audiologists and others, there was no time to stop and take it all in.”

As hospital appointments consumed the couple, Mrs Ring said she and her husband Neil had not even contemplated something might be wrong with their newborn’s eyes.

“I’ve worked with children with disabilities and in deaf arts,” she said. “I love reading and so finding out Chloe was deaf and the thought of not being able to read to my daughter was really devastating. But at the back of my mind, I knew that we would have sign language, at the time that was what I held on to as our way through it.”

The diagnosis of Chloe’s blindness hit them hard.

“Our world fell apart,” Mrs Ring said. “It felt really, really dark.

“All the things we had thought about, sign language, different ways of communicating with her, all of it was no longer possible.

Chloe was fitted with hearing aids that helped her sense vibrations, and began to open the world to her.

And then, specialists raised the idea of cochlear implants, which transmit sound signals direct to the auditory nerves.

In August 2009, the implants were fitted and a month later they were turned on.

“Opportunities have opened up in front of our little girl,” Mrs Ring, who started a blog to share her experiences, said. “You could tell she was bright before, but so much of life was cut off from her. But now, she is active, and she is an amazing chatterbox.

She hasn’t looked back. She sees through sound. It has completely opened up her world, we are so, so proud of her.”

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