Amazing technology lets little boy hear the world - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Amazing technology lets little boy hear the world

January 12, 2006

Albany -- A relatively new medical breakthrough changes the life of a south Georgia toddler. Landon Mosley was born deaf. In August, his mother made a tough decision to send Landon, who's now almost three, into surgery to receive a cochlear implant.

A cochlear implant is surgically implanted in the inner ear and activated by a device worn outside the ear.

Unlike a hearing aid, it does not make sound louder or clearer. Instead, the device bypasses damaged parts of the auditory system and stimulates hearing nerves, allowing people who are deaf to hear.

Landon Mosley, now almost three, was a happy baby. It wasn't until he was 13 months old, that his parents started worrying something could be wrong. "He wasn't talking at 13 months. He wouldn't asked for anything," said his mother, Halaveshia.

But since Landon had passed a newborn hearing test, his mother didn't think he was deaf. Instead she took him to a speech pathologists, who told her to try banging together pots over his crib while he was sleeping. "He didn't wake up," she said.

And dozens of other test later, "We found out he had severe nerve damage in both ears."

Landon couldn't hear. "He was getting frustrating because we didn't know what he wanted and he didn't know what we wanted."

So Landon started learning sign language. He was also fitted for a hearing aid. Then the doctors told Halaveshia about cochlear implants. At first, the thought of having her toddler going under the knife scared her. "The hardest part for me to get over was if you put this in his head and it doesn't work, can it come out?"

She researched the implant, but was surprised to find many in the hearing impaired weren't for it. "Most of the deaf community feels like if they're deaf, let them stay deaf because that's a gift. I began to feel that was like saying if he had cancer, don't give him chemo or if he had only one arm, don't get him a fake one."

On August 17th, Landon's underwent surgery in Atlanta and received his cochlear implant. About six weeks later, doctors turned it on and Landon heard for the first time. "He had never heard and was scared, he got under the table."

Landon had to learn to hear. "When he's hearing, he's hearing everything - the phone rings, I'm talking, the gum he's chewing, the fan, he's hearing everything at one time."

His progress at first was slower than Halaveshia had hoped. "I think I wanted him to come home saying his ABC's and everything, but it didn't happen."

But what did happen was, Landon started recognizing sounds -- like his mother's voice.

Then on Christmas Day, came proof he was hearing. "The phone rang, and he went and got it."

In the last month, Landon has started talking. "He's said 'ball, momma, bye-bye.'"

Small words, but miraculous accomplishments. "His doctor's actually told me that by the time Landon is five years old, he should be able to roll with the rest of the normal kids."

That's why Halaveshia wanted her son to have the cochlear implant. She just wants him to continue growing, learning, and hearing. Mrs. Mosley said she wanted to tell Landon's story in hopes that other parents in this area, with hearing impaired children, will at least look into and consider cochlear implants.

In the Mosley's case, Medicare and her insurance paid for the implant.

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