The sound of waves on the beach.
Her sister’s giggles.
The list of things a mother wants so badly for her child to hear—especially when her little one is unable to hear at all—must be endless.
On this day, a mother will get to cross some things off her list.
15-month-old A’Deja has recently received a cochlear implant. This morning–the implant will be activated for the first time. This little girl is about to be introduced into the world of sound.
A’Deja is all dressed up for the occasion, decked out in vivid purple, as is most of her family. In a colorful show of solidarity, they’ve gathered around her in a small room in the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Audiology Services Center—anticipating her big moment.
Mother, Patricia, has A’Deja on her lap, and she’s clearly excited. As unique as this experience is for most people, it’s actually not a first for this family. A’Deja’s father is deaf, and big sister Ja’Lynn already has bilateral cochlear implants. This happy event has become something like a rite of passage for this family.
“Sound connects us to the world,” audiologist Shelly Ash says. “It’s a true gift to have sound for communication, for recreation, for comfort.”
Ash has been welcoming children into the hearing world for three decades. She says this milestone never gets old.
“We’re ready for the moment of truth,” says Ash, as she works the controls from her computer. “We’re going to talk to the baby now…”
“A’Deja… Hi, A’Deja!” she says. The family chimes in, greeting this family member as if for the first time. In a sense, they are.
The little girl freezes in place. Her eyes get big and round. A hint of a smile appears. She is hearing. Her grandparents look on, cooing to their grandbaby, wiping tears away.
“I love you, A’Deja!” says her mom.
A child hearing “I love you” for the first time. That has to top a mom’s list.