This is the moment an eight-year-old girl was adorably shocked by her own ‘robot’ voice thanks to cochlear implants – after a rare virus saw her become deaf overnight.
Tamzin Stockdale woke up unable to hear four years ago due to a rare virus she caught in the womb.
She has had one cochlear implant installed, giving her limited sound recognition back, but six months ago the virus struck again – robbing her of almost all her remaining hearing.
The schoolgirl had a second implant put in earlier this month and doctors activated her device for the first time on Thursday.
An adorable video of the ‘switch on’ shows the bubbly schoolgirl point to a speech therapist and tell her mother: ‘I can hear her voice but it sounds like a robot’.
But she is so shocked by hearing her own voice properly for the first time in years her eyes go wide and she clamps her hands to her mouth.
Tamzin, from Wolverhampton, has had some hearing on and off for four years but relied heavily on lip reading.
The ‘robotic’ voices she hears now is because her ear isn’t hearing the sound – the electronic implant is providing sound signals to the brain instead.
Tamzin said: ‘I feel amazing. I’m so glad I can hear out of both ears now so my mum doesn’t have to repeat herself all the time mom.
‘I can hear mum and my baby brother with both ears and it sounds amazing.
‘I feel normal again but if I want to be deaf and not listen to my mum I can just take them out.’
Tamzin was born with full hearing in January 2007, but just a few weeks after her 4th birthday she woke up and told her mum she couldn’t hear a thing.
Her mother, Kelley, said: ‘I heard her shouting “mum my ears have popped” and she said it sounded like she was underwater.
‘I asked her if she could hear me and she said yes but I could tell she was just looking at my lips.’
Worried Kelley took her daughter to the doctors where the GP wrongly said her glands were swollen because she had been sucking a dummy.
Unconvinced, she took Tamzin to a nearby audiology centre and managed to get her daughter seen by a specialist after someone didn’t turn up for an appointment.
Tests revealed she was deaf with a hearing level of 110 decibels in right ear – equivalent to just only being able to hear an aeroplane taking off beside her – and 50 in the left.
The consultant examined the results of a heel-prick test she had as a baby which revealed she had caught virus cytomegalovirus from her mother while in the womb.
Most adults carry the herpes-like virus by the time they are an adult, but it can be dangerous if caught in the womb.
Kelley added: ‘She told me “I’m sorry but she’s deaf” and I couldn’t believe it.
‘I felt like my world had fallen in. It was heartbreaking.
‘Of course I know that the deaf community is there and I’m not making negative remarks about it in any way, but for it to happen overnight – for her to go to bed hearing and wake up deaf – was devastating.’
Six months later Tamzin had a cochlear implant for her right ear which while took away any hearing she had left in that ear, she was finally able to hear again.
But the virus re-occurred and hit the hearing in her left ear last year, attacking the nerves until she could only hear noises at 90 decibels – the equivalent of a motorbike.
It left her reliant on sign language and lip reading and unable to hear her mum when she wasn’t in front of her.
She had the operation to fit the second implant on December 4, and it was switched on on December 22, enabling her to hear at 30 decibels – a whisper in a quiet library.
Kelley said: ‘I’m just so overwhelmed.
‘It makes me so upset in a happy way to see her with the biggest smile on her face from having something that most of us take for granted.
‘She’s fantastic and is my inspiration.
‘She’s never once moaned about not being able to hear properly or going to all her regular appointments or when her hearing deteriorated more.
‘She has just dealt with it and for her to be able to listen to her music and her brother just gives me the biggest lump in my throat.
‘It’s makes me realise how precious the little things are she hasn’t stopped singing or talking since she came back from the appointment.
‘There was a time I would stand in another room and speak and she would not understand anything I said or get the words mixed up.
‘But now I just stood in the other room and said her name and she came running in saying ‘yes?’.
‘It’s a miracle for her being hearing for four years then suddenly going deaf.
‘She knew what she was missing and to get all that back 100% four years later is just the most amazing ending we could of wished for.’
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