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Kansas girl hears world around her for first time

Published: Aug. 1, 2020 at 6:08 PM EDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Two-year-old Mavis Malone brings a lovable laugh and sparkling smile to a world she’s largely experienced without hearing it.

Parents Casey and Ahmadd Malone became concerned not long after Mavis was born.

“She wouldn’t even react,” Casey recalls. “She wouldn’t do anything until she actually turned her head to look at me, and I would startle her.”

It was very different from how big brothers Cain and Ronin acted as babies. After seeing doctors in Topeka, the family was referred to Children’s Mercy for a slew of tests. She was diagnosed with EVA, or englarged vestibular aqueducts. The condition leads to severe and total hearing loss.

Last fall, Mavis was outfitted with hearing aids. They seemed to work - at first, but not for long.

“(The doctor found) her right ear was severe to profound hearing loss, so the hearing aid was basically doing nothing for her,” Casey said.

After discussing options, two weeks ago, Mavis underwent surgery to have cochlear implants in both ears. The electronic devices bypass the damaged portion of the ear to deliver sound signals right to the auditory nerve.

After time to heal, Thursday they were activated. Video shows Mavis looking around, then covering her face with her hands before breaking into a big smile and giving her mom a hug.

“It was wild,” Casey said. “You could tell when she finally heard me. I’m like, ‘Ah! You can hear me!’ Not that she said anything, you could just see it in her eyes and she had a smile from ear to ear.”

A day later, it’s an adjustment, with keeping the devices attached, and judging Mavis’ reactions.

“I think it’s overwhelming. It’s a lot of noise all at once,” Casey said, adding she already can tell when Mavis is simply ignoring them!

Her brothers are ready to guide her through.

“I’m really happy that she can hear now,” Cain said.

“I’m happy that my sister can hear, and I love her,” Ronin added.

With that kind of support, Mavis is ready to cross any obstacle in her path.

“I don’t have words,” Casey said. “She can do anything.”

Studies show children who receive cochlear implants at a younger age are may have speech and language skills develop at rates more comparable to their peers.

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