June 2020 Yahoo Sports
A video has captured the moment a deaf baby heard her mother’s voice for the first time. Liv, from Minnesota, failed two hearing tests soon after she was born on 13 June. Genetic screening later revealed she has a mutation that makes her completely deaf in one ear and only able to hear “moderately” in the other. Liv tried hearing aids for seven months, before the family’s health insurance approved her to have a cochlear implant fitted. Just a few months on, Liv “loves music” and is a “totally normal baby”. Liv was born with a connexin 26 mutation, which is responsible for one in 10 childhood hearing loss cases in the US. The youngster had a routine screening after she was born, which she failed twice. Once home, her parents Marni and Derek opted for a “more in-depth hearing test”, which confirmed she was deaf.
Marni and Derek's daughter Liv was born deaf, while their son Lou has healthy hearing
Genetic screening later revealed Liv’s parents both carry a recessive gene for the mutation. Any child of theirs therefore has a one in four chance of being born with the condition. With no family history of hearing loss, and a healthy two-year-old son, they initially struggled to accept Liv’s diagnosis. “It was hard; you don’t expect something like that,” Marni, 31, said. “The last thing you want for your new baby is knowing they’ll [face] a challenge. We didn’t know what her options were.”
Despite their concerns, the parents were “super optimistic” hearing aids would be effective. Their optimism was misplaced, however, with Liv failing to react when they banged pots or their dog barked. Seven months on, insurance was approved for Liv to have a cochlear implant.
The US Food and Drug Administration lowered the age to have an implant fitted from one year to nine months in March. The UK has no minimum age for the surgery, but the patient must weigh at least 15lb (7kg). “The earlier you do it, the better results,” Derek, 32, told Yahoo UK.