A 4-year-old boy who was born hard of hearing due to a genetic disorder got to hear his parents and sister speak to him for the first time after undergoing cochlear implant surgery.
In a TikTok video posted Feb. 8, the boy, named Sawyer, looks up and starts smiling, clapping and giving out high-fives when he hears spoken words -- a "hi" from his sister and an "I love you" from his mom -- for the very first time.
"I have literally not seen him smile that big in his whole life," Sawyer's mother Christina Lenglin, of Ontario, Canada, says in the video, referring to her son's reaction. "That's the biggest smile I've ever seen him do."
Sawyer has Pendred syndrome and has been deaf and hard of hearing since birth, Lenglin told Storyful. Pendred syndrome is a genetic disorder that causes early hearing loss in kids and can sometimes affect a child's balance, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Sawyer's younger brother Tucker, an infant, also has Pendred syndrome and will also need cochlear implants when he is old enough, according to Lenglin.
- 3December 19, 2018
Cochlear implants are small electronic devices that include a part that sits behind the ear and another part that is surgically placed under the skin. The devices are not hearing aids and do not restore normal hearing, but they can help a deaf person understand sounds in the environment and understand speech, according to the NIH.
As of 2019, the latest data available, over 730,000 cochlear implant devices have been used worldwide, according to the NIH.
In the video shared by his mom, Sawyer can be seen looking at different family members as he hears them make sounds.
Sawyer's sister Rosie seems equally as excited in the video, waving at her brother and repeatedly telling him, "Hi, I love you."