'I want her to hear me say “I love you”': Mother's delight as her deaf daughter becomes one of the youngest in Britain to undergo surgery for hearing loss
Paige Evans was born profoundly deaf after her mother contracted an infection while pregnantWill have a cochlear implant after doctors gave the go-ahead
Device means she may able to hear 'within a matter of weeks'
17:09 GMT, 11 October 2012
A baby who was born deaf is set to become one of the youngest in the country to undergo surgery to improve her hearing.
Seven-month-old Paige Evans will undergo a cochlear implant after doctors gave the go-ahead for the treatment.
Cochlear implants can improve people's ability to hear and understand speech if they cannot benefit from a hearing aid.
They enable children who are deaf to learn language, speak more clearly and perform better at school.
Seven-month-old Paige Evans (pictured with parents Bethany and Paul) is one of the youngest ever children to receive a cochlear implant to help her hear. She was born profoundly deaf after mother contracted an infection while pregnant
Her parents say they are 'over the moon' that their young daughter may be able to hear in just a matter of weeks.
Paige was born profoundly deaf on March 11 at the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, after her mother Bethany Tait contracted group B streptococcus, a bacteria which causes severe infections in newborns.
Her mother said she had a feeling 'from day one' that something was wrong with Paige's hearing.
The implant should help Paige develop a sensation of hearing and speak more clearly
Then when she was just two weeks old, her parents were dealt a further blow when Paige was admitted to hospital after repeated vomiting.
She was diagnosed with meningitis, linked to the bacteria from her mother's infection.
Now doctors have contacted the family to confirm Paige is suitable for cochlear implant surgery.
Miss Tait, 20, said: 'We just can’t believe it – we're dying for the phone to ring so we know when she's having the operation. We are just waiting for a date.
'I want really want Paige to be able to hear us.
It was horrible to think she may never hear us say how much we love her.
'She also doesn’t respond as much as other babies, which does upset me.'
Her parents have even chosen which design of implant their daughter will have when the procedure is carried out at James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough.
Miss Tait added: 'A member of staff from James Cook came over earlier this week and brought us an implant to show us what it looks like.
'It made it even more exciting when we got to pick the implant, a white waterproof one.'
She added that she has already been looking for musical toys to buy Paige, in the hope she will at last be able to hear them.
There are risks to the eight-hour procedure, which includes doctors delicately cutting behind the ear and drilling through the skull to insert the implant.
But the couple say they have been assured by doctors that their baby is in safe hands.
'And no matter what happens, she was born that way so that's who she is and we love her,' said her mother.
THE IMPLANTS THAT CAN RESTORE HEARING
There are about 10,000 people in the UK
with cochlear implants and the number is on the rise, according to the
charity Action on Hearing Loss.
The implants provide a sensation of
hearing to those who have severe to profound permanent deafness.
the person may be able to hear some sounds, they cannot hear all the
sounds that make up human speech.
Instead of making the sound louder, like
a hearing aid, the implant directly stimulates the auditory nerve (the
nerve that carries sound from the cochlea to the brain) using electrical
Sound is picked up by the microphone in
the cochlear implant and processed into electrical signals that are
passed to the transmitter coil.
The transmitter coil sends signals, by
radio wave, through the skin to the implanted receiver. The receiver
sends the signals down the wire to the electrodes in the cochlea.
When the electrodes receive the signal, a
tiny electric current stimulates the auditory nerve to provide a
sensation of hearing.
Having an implant put in takes several hours and is carried out under a general anaesthetic.
The surgeon makes a cut behind the ear
and drills through the bone, into the middle ear and into the cochlea.
‘bed’ is made in the bone behind the ear to hold the receiver and
internal magnet, which the surgeon will insert and then close the