Jan 2020 Daily Mail Australia

Heart-warming footage shows a deaf baby's reaction to hearing his mother's voice for the first time after being fitted with a hearing aid.   Arlo Clark, a 10-month-old boy who is partially deaf in both ears, lets out a giggle and cracks a sweet smile when his mother Sara says ‘hello'. Mrs Clark revealed the sweet moment left her with tears in her eyes, saying she and her husband Adrian now feel like Arlo is 'properly' in their lives. The couple admitted it has been difficult, given they have struggled to share 'special moments' with their son, such as singing to him.  But now, doctors at Worcestershire Royal Hospital have fitted Arlo with a behind-the-ear hearing aid on his left ear. He will soon receive one for his right ear.

His parents noticed something was wrong with his hearing when he was a newborn because he didn't respond to sounds. Arlo has already learnt some sign language to cope with his deafness.  

Mrs Clark filmed the moment she first spoke to him because Arlo's father wasn't able to get the time off from his job as a train ticket inspector. 

Arlo ClarkMother-of-two Ms Clark, from St Peter's, Worcestershire, said: 'The moment I saw that he [Arlo] could hear my voice I had tears in my eyes. I wasn't expecting him to be able to hear me at all. I couldn't believe that at last he could hear me. At first he looked completely shocked and then once I started talking to him he started to giggle and to smile. Adrian and I haven't been able to sing to him or have any of those special moments that you typically have with newborns. '

Mrs Clark, 31, added: 'Now that he can hear we feel like we finally have him properly in our lives.'

Mrs Clark and Mr Clark, 39, realised that something wasn't quite right with Arlo when he was only a few weeks old. Recalling her son's struggle, Mrs Clark said: 'I noticed pretty much straight away that something was wrong.  If you sneezed around our eldest Corey even when he was small he would notice it but Arlo didn't appear to notice sounds around him at all and would sleep through anything. Unless you were standing in front him in a quiet room and were directly looking at him, he couldn't hear you.  It's been tricky to get his attention. If the room is too loud or too quiet he can't hear at all. It's been quite difficult for me as I'm with him all the time.' 

 Mrs Clark said: 'We went to baby sign language classes with him and he can do about ten signs in total with us. It's been quite upsetting for Adrian and I. We haven't been able to have lots of the special moments you tend to have with newborns like singing to them or playing games.'

She said: 'The doctor put the hearing aid onto Arlo's left ear and turned it on.  It was very emotional for me and for Adrian when I showed him the video.’ Mrs Clark added that Arlo will receive a hearing aid for his right ear later in the year. She said: 'He hears all sounds now. Feeding times are a lot easier because I can call him and he'll hear me. We can sing and play with him now so we can finally interact with him. It's great to have our boy back properly in our lives.'

A spokesperson for Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust said: 'Our dedicated staff work day in, day out to provide the best possible care to patients, so we're delighted to hear that the outcome in Arlo's case has been so positive. We will be sure to share his family's thanks with the team involved in his care, and wish him well.' 

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