Feb 2017 stuff.co.nz

Two-year-old Maisy Taylor has been barely able to hear her mother's voice for most of her short life. But, the Manawatu toddler is now dancing to her favourite songs and mooing like a cow after a recent life-changing surgery. Maisy was born with severe hearing loss after contracting cytomegalovirus. The virus is common, with more than half of the population estimated to have been infected by the time they reach mid-adulthood.  It usually remains dormant, but can cause long-term health problems for babies born with it.

Massey TaylorKatie Taylor with daughter Maisy, 2, who has cochlear implants in both ears.

Massey Taylor

After failing hearing tests, Maisy was fitted with hearing aids at 12 weeks old, but something was still not quite right, her mother Katie Taylor said. "We thought 'she'll fine, hearing aids will do the trick’. After about a year, we were having more hearing tests done. I kept saying 'I'm sure she can't hear very well'. She wasn't responding to her name.” She went to another specialist, who confirmed Maisy was profoundly deaf. "I just burst into tears, I said 'I just want you to tell me I'm not going crazy’."  Taylor believed Maisy's hearing difficulties were the result of her getting sick during her pregnancy. "I was so gutted, I felt so guilty.” But, she still had to get up each morning and concentrate on her children. "I just don't think you get a choice, you've just got to get on with it."  Taylor said her daughter had the equivalent hearing of a 6-month-old. Due to the late detection of her condition, Maisy had lost about a year of hearing. Taylor said there was not widespread public knowledge about cytomegalovirus, despite it being relatively common.

At 20 months old, Maisy underwent four hours of surgery to have cochlear implants put in. Maisy now responds to her name, dances and even moos like a cow. "She is behind, but she's making great progress. Her personality has come out heaps since she had the implants put in."

Taylor said she would always remember the words of the surgeon who operated on her daughter.

"He turned to the junior doctors and said 'always listen to a mother, because she spends 100 per cent of her time with her child. If you can't prove her wrong then you've got to listen to them'.

I've never forgotten that." 

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They are based in Western Australia and supported by Senses Australia.

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