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Reydean and Waldo noticed baby Mateo wasn’t reacting to noises around him and was referred to the Alberta Children’s Hospital. Mateo was diagnosed with severe to profound hearing loss – he could hear nothing through his left ear and only noises as loud as an airplane directly beside him through his right. The diagnosis was devastating for his parents. Reydean realized all the times she’d sung and spoken to her baby, he’d never heard her. He didn’t know her voice.
The family began working with Jean, an audiologist at the hospital and Mateo was fitted for hearing aids. Waldo and Reydean had discussed who would get to say hi to their son first. Reydean won. Once the hearing aids were turned on, specialists played music for him to hear. Then Reydean softly said, “Hi, buddy.” He looked up at her and smiled. It was an amazing feeling. Shortly after he received his hearing aids, Mateo started babbling. It was the first time his family had really heard HIS voice, as he’d never spoken before, just made sounds. Reydean says it was then that she changed her outlook from negative to positive – a crucial turning point in her son’s journey.
Following further testing, specialists determined that while the hearing aid on Mateo’s right side was helping him hear, the one on the left wasn’t doing much. The family found out Mateo was a candidate for a cochlear implant – a surgically-implanted device that would allow him to hear. The recovery was challenging – Mateo’s face had swelled up so much, he couldn’t open his eye and was nearly unrecognizable. His parents had to be extra vigilant, making sure once an hour that there was no more brain fluid leaking.
After the surgery, his parents noticed an immediate and drastic improvement in Mateo’s hearing and speaking. He started pronouncing sounds and words he’d struggled to say before. The family also took part in a six-week group session through the Hearing Clinic at the hospital, which continued to help Mateo develop. Reydean says she “can’t say enough about or do enough for the hospital.” The specialists here have been so supportive and accessible, and best of all, they gave her son the gift of sound.