Aug 2018 Daily Mail Australia

Max Brett was born so profoundly deaf that he slept soundly while builders drilled through a wall by his crib. Now he can hear, thanks to surgery to fit ear implants just after his first birthday in May. And a heart-warming video captured the moment he heard for the first time –  turning to his mother Rebecca in astonishment.  Max is first seen happily playing with a ball and building blocks in a hospital room before doctors begin playing loud sounds. He freezes and stares at the toy bricks in his hands in bewilderment, appearing to think the noise must be coming from them. For a time the alien sensation of being able to hear becomes a bit much and his face crumples, but soon he is looking at his mother, in baffled wonderment.

maxHis father Ian, 35, an ambulance control room commander, said: 'We've all seen videos where suddenly people can hear but it's not like that for everyone. It's a long journey and as a parent it's hard and emotional.'

Max, of Sutton in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, was fitted with state-of-the-art cochlear implants costing £8,000 per ear.

Max's implants include parts made by Apple, with Bluetooth technology so his parents can control volume levels with an app. In future they can use a microphone to speak directly into his ear if he runs off.

Doctors are gradually turning up the volume on his implants to accustom his brain to the sound signals. But only three months after hearing for the first time, Max can now recognise his name when he is called by his parents.

Teacher Mrs Brett, 35, said: 'When he was born he looked so beautiful, healthy and wonderful, so when we found out he was profoundly deaf in both ears it was very emotional. 'We were worried about him being lonely, especially at night in the dark, and decided to go down the cochlear implant route to give him the best chance of being able to hear and speak. 'It's incredible to see how he has come on and how quickly he is picking it up.' 

The devices were funded by the NHS but the family must pay a £100 fee if they lose one and it has to be replaced. As well as being hugely grateful to the NHS, the couple have relied on an insurance payout which enabled Mrs Brett to stop work to care for Max, including taking him to up to four hospital appointments a month and helping him adapt after surgery. The Bretts bought critical illness cover 'just in case' before Max was born and received a lump sum of £25,000 from their insurer, AIG, to cover time off work due to Max's condition.

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

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