When Felicia Aquilo first learned that her new baby was profoundly deaf, she was devastated.
She spent the first six month of Silas’ life questioning what she’d done wrong, whether their doctor’s diagnosis was accurate, and how they would learn to accommodate their son’s unexpected special needs.
Felicia finally made peace with Silas’ deafness and threw herself into helping him get the best hearing aids and learn sign language. The little boy was diagnosed with Connexin 26, a genetic mutation that is the most common cause of congenital hearing loss.
While there’s no cure, doctors determined that Silas could recover some hearing if they installed cochlear implants in both of his ears. He ended up having the surgery when he was just over 1 year old.
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“Everything with the surgery went as planned and I’m pretty sure recovery was harder on me than it was on him — he was back to himself two days later,” Felicia wrote on her blog. “Little did I know that this was the beginning of such an amazing, rewarding journey for our family. Silas’ CI (Cochlear Implant) activation day was February 5th, 2019, which is the day he heard his mom and dad’s voices for the first time ever.”
Silas is now 3 years old, and he communicates using both speech and sign language. He attends regular audiology appointments and other therapies to help him learn how to use his implants to their fullest extent.
“Having a deaf child as a hearing parent is the most rewarding journey,” Felicia added. “He has opened my eyes and my heart to an entirely new world and for that I am so grateful.”
His diagnosis and treatment have affected his entire family, even his great-grandmother Elizabeth. Elizabeth has had hearing loss since childhood as well, so when she heard about Silas’ Connexin 26 diagnosis, she decided to have genetic testing done at age 68. It turns out, her hearing loss was also caused by the genetic mutation.
With cochlear implants, Elizabeth is now hearing better than she has for her whole life. The best part? She and Silas can now enjoy music together!
Now that they’re both able to hear, Elizabeth and Silas share the most heartwarming hobby. Whenever Silas visits, he makes a beeline for the piano so that he and Great-Grandma can play!
Watch them play “Chopsticks” together in the video below, and don’t forget to share this sweet story.
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