An 11-month-old baby born with a strain of the herpes virus that left her profoundly deaf in both ears can finally hear after being fitted with cochlear implants, London’s Daily Mail reported.
Lucy Rees was born with cytomeglavirus, which is a common virus but rarely causes illness. It can be spread from person to person by contact with urine, saliva, breast milk, blood and semen.
The virus is also spread from a mother to child.
Lucy was born prematurely last December with the virus and doctors were unsure she would survive. When she did pull through, it was clear she had lost any ability to hear.
But doctors at England’s Birmingham Children’s Hospital recently fitted Lucy with cochlear implants, small, electronic devices that provide sounds to people who are deaf. The implant consists of an external portion, which sits behind the ear, and another part, which is surgically placed under the skin.
Cochlear implants have a microphone, a speech processor, a transmitter and receiver/stimulator and an electrode array, which collects the impulses from the stimulator and sends them to regions of the auditory nerve.
“It’s a slow process for Lucy because she is having to learn how to hear,” said Lucy’s mom Louise. “She has to have it off at night, but when I switch it on in the morning, you can see it in her face.”
The external parts of the implant have to be removed if Lucy is near any water, including when she is swimming or bathing.