Bringing a new life into the world is an emotional roller coaster. There is unrelenting happiness and excitement, but it’s coupled with the feeling of tremendous responsibility.
Parents want the best for their kids, and they feel their children’s struggles as if they were their own. That’s why Amarillo, Texas, couple Anna and Will Esler were concerned about their 1-year-old daughter, Ayla.
Ayla Esler failed a hearing test, and it was later discovered she was deaf.
“It was determined that she had profound hearing loss,” Anna told FOX 9.
The couple was devastated. Not because the diagnosis had any bearing on how they loved their child, but because they worried for her future and the many challenges she would have to overcome.
There was a strong chance of Ayla never being able to speak, which caused the loving parents a great deal of distress. Their search for a solution eventually led them to the Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas.
The hospital has experience working with little ones suffering from hearing loss, and despite the facility being more than a five-hour drive from the family’s Amarillo home, the trek was worth every minute.
“This surgery is literally going to change her life,” Anna told MyHighPlains.com. “It will open doors that would’ve been closed.”
Ayla underwent a four-hour surgery to implant a cochlear device in both of her ears.
The surgery was a success, but the girl would need time to recover before the hospital was ready to turn on the implants. On June 19, the moment finally arrived.
“We like to have kids early because when we do that, we find that those kids aren’t delayed in speech, language, and learning and they compete with all their other hearing peers,” Cook Children’s Hospital audiologist Lisa Christensen told FOX 9.
In a heartwarming video published to the Cook Children’s Hospital Facebook page, Ayla reacts to the implants being activated, and hearing the world around her for the first time.
“When I saw her happy and dancing and responding to sound for the first time in her life I just lost it because we’ve been waiting a long time for that,” Anna said.
Anna was brought to tears in the hospital room while holding her daughter and witnessing the little one’s reaction. Ayla’s father is just as thrilled that his daughter is able to hear his voice.
“She calmed down this morning when I was singing to her,” Will Esler told FOX 9. “It was pretty special.”
Ayla will now begin auditory therapy to make up for the year she was unable to hear.
Because Ayla was so young when she had the implant surgery, the hospital staff is confident they’ll be able to get her up to speed quickly. Her parents believe in their little girl, too.
“There was a year of no hearing,” Anna said. “No sound input. So she’ll be behind for a while but she’s a smart girl, and we know she can do this, We’re excited.”
Ayla will have the internal component of the implants for the rest of her life, while the external pieces will be swapped out as the technology advances. For the Eslers, it’s a small price to pay for their baby girl to be able to hear.
“To actually see that happen, to see her hearing and to know she was hearing, it was just amazing,” Will said.