Ohio toddler with hearing loss experiences sounds of Christmas for 1st time

Mason Henoch receives gift of sound with cochlea implants

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DETROIT - The sounds of the season surround us this time of year.

An Ohio toddler will hear the holidays for the very first time thanks to a sophisticated piece of equipment that can bring sound to people with severe hearing loss.

Toddlers love making noise but just three months ago, Mason Henoch's world was silent.

Mason was diagnosed with severe hearing loss in both ears right around his first birthday.

"We knew that something was wrong but we didn't realize how severe it was," said mother Wendy Henoch.

Mason was months behind in his ability to communicate.

Through sophisticated testing, experts at a Cleveland Clinic determined he was an excellent candidate for a cochlear implant.

"He wasn't hearing much and that became obvious after just a few weeks in the early months of seeing him," said Dr. Donald Goldberg.

Mason's surgery took about eight hours for both ears.

Electrodes were implanted in the cochlea, or inner ear.

"Every time when I see the surgeon with his or her skill put in the electrode array, I actually have chills up my arms thinking that's going to give access to sound," said Henoch.

Each morning, mason's parents attach external processors that are worn on his head and ears.

"It transmits that sound using a radio signal to a series of 22 electrical leads that are actually in his cochlea. Over time mason interprets these electrical impulses as sound," said Matt Henoch, Mason's father.

Two weeks after surgery, it's the moment his parents have been waiting for, Mason's implants are activated.

"That was the real ah-ha moment for us when we knew he was experiencing something for the first time." said Henoch.

Mason's ears are just 3-months old, but he's quickly catching up to his peers.

"He had his first words within just a few weeks of the activation," said Goldberg.

Things are looking 'up' for Mason and the sky is the limit.

Dr. Goldberg says it was important to remember that once the external portion of a cochlear implant is removed to sleep, bathe or swim, a child is deaf and can't hear.

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~Little Mason with his new cochlea implants.~

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