A baby who was born deaf is set to become one of the youngest in the country to undergo surgery to improve her hearing.
Seven-month-old Paige Evans will undergo a cochlear implant after doctors gave the go-ahead for the treatment.
Cochlear implants can improve people’s ability to hear and understand speech.
Her parents say they are ‘over the moon’ that their young daughter may be able to hear in just a matter of weeks.
Paige was born profoundly deaf on March 11 at the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, after her mother Bethany Tait contracted group B streptococcus, a bacteria which causes severe infections in newborns.
Her mother said she had a feeling ‘from day one’ that something was wrong with Paige’s hearing.
The implant should help Paige develop a sensation of hearing and speak more clearly.
Then when she was just two weeks old, her parents were dealt a further blow when Paige was admitted to hospital after repeated vomiting.
She was diagnosed with meningitis, linked to the bacteria from her mother’s infection.
Now doctors have contacted the family to confirm Paige is suitable for cochlear implant surgery.
Miss Tait, 20, said: ‘We just can’t believe it – we’re dying for the phone to ring so we know when she’s having the operation. We are just waiting for a date.
‘I want really want Paige to be able to hear us. It was horrible to think she may never hear us say how much we love her. She also doesn’t respond as much as other babies, which does upset me.’
Her parents have even chosen which design of implant their daughter will have when the procedure is carried out at James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough.
Miss Tait added: ‘A member of staff from James Cook came over earlier this week and brought us an implant to show us what it looks like.
‘It made it even more exciting when we got to pick the implant, a white waterproof one.’
She added that she has already been looking for musical toys to buy Paige, in the hope she will at last be able to hear them.
There are risks to the eight-hour procedure, which includes doctors delicately cutting behind the ear and drilling through the skull to insert the implant.
But the couple say they have been assured by doctors that their baby is in safe hands.
‘And no matter what happens, she was born that way so that’s who she is and we love her,’ said her mother.
I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this; not because of the fact Paige will be living with a cochlear implant, but because the procedure (which is major surgery) is being carried out on someone so young. What are your thoughts?