Deaf toddler hears for the first time

PLANO, TX (KTVT/CNN) – Like most toddlers, Kendall Johnson squeals, gurgles and fusses – but she’s making noises that she can’t hear.

“Most of the toys for babies have sound, and until now she just looks at it and she’s like ‘that’s no fun!'” her father Kemper Johnson Sr. said.

The 9-month-old girl from Plano, TX was born deaf, but technology is about to turn up the volume of her safe, but silent life.

Kendall is about to hear sounds for the very first time with the help of cochlear implants.

Early this month, a tiny receiver was surgically inserted under the skin near her ear. A device worn over the ear picks up and processes sounds.

Dr. Bob Peters at the Dallas Ear Institute is guiding Kendall into her noisy new world, and said “A cochlear implant is basically a bionic inner ear.”

“Today we can tell all patients children born with profound hearing loss, and any adult that loses their hearing, that there’s practically no level of hearing loss that we can’t treat them for and keep them functioning very well in the hearing world,” Peters said.

Cochlear implants have been around for nearly 30 years, but experts say the technological advances over those decades have been tremendous. With these implants, it completely changes the trajectory the recipients’ life.

Kendall is hearing, but it will take time and therapy for her to learn the meaning of those new sounds.

Her older brother, Kemper Jr., will be a big help – he was also born deaf and received implants almost four years ago.

“His favorite thing to do is listen to music.. how ironic is that? He loves to sing, he loves to listen to music. It is neat to see him living the life that you wouldn’t think possible when he was first born,” Kemper Johnson Sr. said.

Copyright 2014 KTVT via CNN. All rights reserved.

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