Emotional moment deaf boy hears his father’s voice for the first time in weeks
“We’re eternally indebted to everyone who helped make this difference to his life.”
PHOTO: CATERS/WWW.MAGAZINEFEATURES.CO.ZA.
Source

When Luiz Gustavo da Silva’s surgical hearing implant stopped working in March he was left facing weeks of uncertainty.

And because his family couldn’t afford the repair bill of R27 710, the nine-year-old was devastated by the sudden silence.

He cried often because he sorely missed conversation, music and interacting at school.

But Luiz’s predicament touched the hearts of the residents in his hometown, Bueno Brandão in southeast Brazil.

They rallied after a teacher, Caleny Augusta de Rosa, suggested holding a raffle with an ox as prize.

“Once people heard about Luiz’s difficulties, many residents who’d never met him got behind the campaign. We printed 1 000 tickets and sold each one for 10 real [R35].

“Within 15 days we’d raised more than enough to fix the device.”

Luiz got a replacement hearing aid and to show their appreciation his dad, Juliano (32), recorded the moment he refitted the device to his son’s left ear and switched it on.

At first it didn’t work.

“I adjusted it and the instant Luiz heard my voice was priceless,” recalled Juliano, an office administrator.

“It still brings tears to my eyes when I look back on how he jumped with surprised joy and gave the thumbs up. That moment reminds me just how isolated he is when he can’t hear.”

Juliano explained his son was born deaf and doctors failed for more than a year and a half to correctly diagnose the problem.

At the age of three, the toddler was fitted with a life-transforming cochlear implant with a removable external processor that attaches via a magnet to an internal implant surgically placed under the skin.

“For the past six years Luiz has been living a normal life and has been working with speech therapists to improve his communication,” Juliano revealed.

“Then around 4 March the hearing aid suddenly stopped working. We sent it to the manufacturer’s technical department but the Unified Health System [Brazil’s public health service] doesn’t pay for maintenance and the warranty expired three years ago. So we were presented with a repair bill we couldn’t afford.

“Luiz was without the equipment for more than two weeks. But for him it felt like an eternity,” Juliano said.

The distressed boy refused to go to school and spent nearly every day “sobbing his heart out” and getting increasingly frustrated.

“On the day we went to collect the repair I decided to record a video to show everyone who’d bought a raffle ticket the result of their extraordinary kindness,” the grateful dad said.

The footage shows the adorable moment a shocked Luiz spins on his heels and bursts into tears as his father says, “There’s no need to cry” but then also bursts into tears while repeatedly affirming, “You can hear, you can hear!

“We were stunned by the commotion the video created,” Juliano admitted.

“Within a day of it being posted we received a staggering eight million views, hundreds of thousands of shares and calls from TV and radio to tell our story.

“People were touched by Luiz’s response, which was heartfelt. He couldn’t stop crying with happiness and his reaction reduced me to tears.

“We’re eternally indebted to everyone who helped make this difference to his life.”

 

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