In a emotional moment caught on video, a young teen breaks down in tears after hearing her mom’s voice clearly for the first time.
Breanna Mendoza, 14, received a cochlear implant in July from the Houston-based Center for Hearing and Speech, which she has attended for years, and finally began hearing in August after it was turned on.
Can you hear my voice?” her mother Melissa asks in the video.
“Yes,” Breanna Mendoza, 14, before shedding tears of joy.
Breanna was born premature at just 24 weeks and when she came out of the NICU, doctors discovered her "moderate to severe" hearing loss, which got progressively worse over the years.
One incident was particularly scary for her mother.
“At 3 years old we were at a Christmas program. We were running in the rain to the car,” said Melissa. She thought we were playing and I was chasing her. She couldn’t hear me calling her and ran into the side of moving car.”
Breanna wasn’t gravely injured but had to get stitches.
“At that point I knew she needed to hear,” said Melissa. That’s when she registered her into the Melinda Webb School which teaches kids how to use hearing devices for sound and speech - without sign language.
When she heard the suggestion of a cochlear implant, Melissa said she was emotional about the idea of the implant because there was no certainty that it would work.
The implant operates by bypassing damaged cells within the inner ear and directly stimulates the auditory nerve.
“The change in her is magnificent. The school has talked about how well she is doing. She is not irritable anymore,” said Melissa. “She used to be irritated because she couldn’t hear. She’s more productive in her work and they said she has completely changed.”
Now the center will monitor Breanna’s progress to see if she will be eligible for another implant in her right ear, but even with just one implant her mom is amazed.
Melissa said it’s really the little things, however, that get her emotional about her daughter’s ability to hear, like when she calls her for dinner and she comes or when she can hear her talking to her in the back seat without having to look at her – which they could never do before.
“I still cry to this day because every moment is amazing. I’m looking forward to her progress. She is going to be unstoppable,” Melissa said.