Gift of sound for little Lucas
For the first year of his life, Lucas Carruthers was unable to hear virtually anything.
He would play in his own silent world, with his parents Tracy and Scot having to bang the floor to make a vibration to get his attention.
But now, thanks to two cochlear implants, Lucas can hear sounds, including his own name, for the first time and is learning how to respond to them.
Both 15-month-old Lucas and his brother Hayden, age two, from Harrogate, were born profoundly deaf. Hayden was also fitted with two cochlear implants when he was 13 months old and he is now talking like any two-and-a-half-year-old.
Lucas had his internal implant fitted at the end of November and the device was turned on this week, although he will return frequently to gradually have the sound turned up.
“He is just starting to respond, but it is all so new to him,” said Tracy.
“He doesn’t even know his own name, as he has never heard it before. But now he turns to us and smiles and responds to our voices. It’s unbelievable really.”
Tracy and Scot are learning sign language to help their sons further as there are times when they cannot wear the processors and are once again plunged into a silent world.
“They have to take them off at night so that the batteries can be charged and they cannot wear them for swimming,” said Tracy.
“They also will never be able to play contact sport, which is why I am glad in some way they can support each other.”
The boys will have to have new devices fitted approximately every 20 years, but with the speed in which the technology is advancing this could change.
Ear surgeon Mr Dave Strachen who operated on Lucas, said: “People with hearing loss and often many clinicians aren’t aware that they could benefit from a cochlear implant.
“We are working to try to raise awareness of the benefits of this treatment.”