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Deaf Boy Hears Parents' Voices For The First Time...Via Skype

14/08/2014 16:54 | Updated 22 May 2015

Deaf boy hears parents voices for the first time...via Skype

A seven-year-old deaf boy heard his parents speak for the first time - via Skype.

Jenri Rivera had left his mum and dad behind in Guatemala to be fitted with a $40,000 cochlear implant in America following a chance meeting with a volunteer worker in his homeland three years ago.

Erin Van Oordt of Grand Rapids, Michigan, was so moved by Jenri's plight that she introduced him to the Ray of Hope Medical Missions, a not-for-profit group in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

"There was something special about him from the beginning," said Erin.

"I started talking to him, and he couldn't hear me. I knew my Spanish wasn't that bad, so I started asking around and they said he hasn't heard since he was little. I said we need to figure this out, and that's when we started the whole process."

But for Jenri to be eligible for a medical visa to get to the U.S., every part of the process had to be a donation, including the cochlear implant donated by Advanced Bionics, and the procedure to install it, which was performed by Dr Disher at the Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne.

The implant was activated on Monday by Dr Tina Sheehan of Focus Audiology and Hearing Services.

Finally Jenri could hear and to test him, Dr Sheehan smacked her hand on the table and watched as he reacted with surprise.

"When I would tap on the desk, he would look," said Dr Sheehan.

"I tapped again, and he looked. I tapped a third time and he said, no! His reactions to the noises are an excellent sign that things are working.

"It was an extremely emotional moment for everyone as the young boy got to hear his parents' voices for the very first time."

Next, Jenri will spend several more months in America as he works on his speech and learns to understand what he hears.

Erin said she couldn't be happier with how things have worked out.

She said: "I had a flashback to the first time I met him, when he couldn't hear me, and he could this time. Everything we've done in the past three years came flooding back. It was all worth it.

You can meet jenri and learn more about his experience here.

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