PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- My 11-year-old daughter Kennedy is deaf. But, she was not born that way.

As a baby, she had a mild hearing loss, and eventually lost all her hearing over time because of a condition known as Enlarged Vestibular Aquaduct Syndrome (EVAS).

As a newborn, toddler and pre-schooler, Kennedy wore hearing aids. She first lost all usable hearing in her right ear when she was four years old.

Surgeons at the House Ear Clinic in Los Angeles implanted Kennedy's first cochlear implant. The entire process was featured on the show "The Doctors."

Seven years later, it happened all over again. Kennedy woke up this past summer and could no longer hear in her left ear.

So in September it was back to the operating room. Dr. John Macias is the surgeon who implanted Kennedy's cochlear implant.

"Cochlear implants are for people who no longer benefit from conventional hearing aids," said Dr. Macias, who tells us Kennedy's surgery was a success.

"It's a great gift from technology. We're standing on the shoulders of giants, as they say, who helped develop cochlear implants."

After one month of healing, Kennedy headed to Phoenix Children's Hospital to turn on the implant.

"I'm not nervous," Kennedy said on the drive to PCH. "It feels really good to know I'm getting a second cochlear and to be able to hear in my left ear again."

Dr. Deborah Flynn has been Kennedy's audiologist since Kennedy was a newborn. She has been in Kennedy's life for every major hearing milestone. And now she would give Kennedy the ability to hear in her left ear.

Dr. Flynn programmed the implant, then turned it on. Kennedy walked into PCH deaf in her left ear. She walked out hearing sound.

"At first, it's just going to be noise," explains Dr. Flynn to Kennedy. "You can't understand words, but that's ok. There is just noise right now. We have to wake up that auditory nerve in there that hasn't been used in a while."

Kennedy knows she is in for months of auditory/verbal therapy. However, already, within a week she is able to discern words.

Gina Maravilla appears every weekday on Good Morning Arizona keeping you up-to-date on your morning commute.  

Join Gina and the rest of the Good Morning Arizona family weekdays starting at 4:30 a.m.

 


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