Lachlan Lever
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Australian parents describe moment deaf baby hears for first time

The Australian parents of a deaf baby boy have described the "overwhelming" moment their son heard their voices for the first time.

Lachlan Lever was diagnosed with moderate-to-severe hearing loss at birth, but was fitted with hearing aids when he was seven weeks old.

His parents Toby and Michelle captured the amazing occasion in 2012 on video, but only recently shared it with the world on Youtube.

Mrs Lever told the BBC: "Our baby not only smiled for the first time, more importantly he heard. His whole world opened up."


BBC Presenter: Michelle and Toby Lever thought their seven-week-old baby Lachlan would never hear again, after being diagnosed with a hearing impairment in both ears... wait for the smile, there you go. That's the first time that baby hears something. It was a condition that left him deaf and unlikely to develop any form of speech without proper intervention, however he was given hearing aids and as you can see his life has been changed forever. Well he's now two years old and the video, which the family put on YouTube last week has had nearly four and a half million hits. Lachlan's mum and dad, Michelle and Toby explained to us a little earlier how they felt when they found out their baby could hear.

Michelle: We were completely overwhelmed and so emotional when the hearing aids were turned on, we were crying from happiness, our baby not only smiled for the first time, but more importantly he heard and his whole world just opened up. It was the most amazing thing we've ever seen in our lives.

BBC Presenter: Toby, in terms of what it meant for his ability to learn a language, to develop his natural linguistic skills, what would that have meant if he hadn't been able to hear?

Toby: It just...his future changed, being able to hear, the opportunities he has in life now have grown a lot more, we chose to go the hearing way, there's other parents choose more sign language, but we thought he... Lachlan would have better opportunity in life to be in the hearing world.

Presenter: Michelle, does it mean that he has to wear hearing aids in both ears for the rest of his life or is there now a surgical process that he can perhaps go through?

Michelle: Lachlan will be required to wear hearing aids for the rest of his life, unless there's going to be some research, that comes about, that he won't need to wear hearing aids. At present, if no new research comes along, Lachlan will need to wear hearing aids whenever he is awake.

BBC Presenter: Michelle, as a mother, I suppose when you've got a seven-week-old who can't hear, it's impossible to know, but it's almost there was a potential there for having two Lachlans, the deaf Lachlan with one personality and the hearing Lachlan, who is going to be a completely different person, because of what you've done.

Michelle: Yes, you're exactly right, when Lachlan has his hearing aids in his ears, he is a very different child, he's a lot more vocal, he tries to speak, or he does speak, he's not able to have ...I'm not able to have a conversation with him at present, but he's able to definitely follow instructions, so pretty much, um, when Lachlan has his hearing aids on his whole face just changes, he becomes a lot more vocal, he smiles a lot more, even now, the only times he turns his hearing aids off, or he takes them out, is when he's tired, so he tells us, I've had enough of the hearing world mum, I want to go to bed now, so at that point in time, he then pulls his hearing aids out and generally speaking that's when he goes to bed.

BBC Presenter: So in the future, if he doesn't want to hear mum, he can just unplug himself basically.

Michelle: Exactly. I'm waiting for the time when he's going to be a teenager and he's just going to say, 'Can't hear you mum, I'm taking my hearing aids out'.

  • 06 Sep 2014
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