At six months old, Francesca Jones was given the gift of hearing for Christmas.

By Joelle Goldstein
didifoto/Shutterstock

Christmas came early for one Canadian family.

The Joneses received the best gift they could’ve ever imagined — their baby girl can finally hear them say “we love you.”

Six months ago when Francesca Jones was born, doctors determined that she had developed a virus called congenital Cytomegalovirus (CMV), which caused her to become deaf, Global News reported.

Last week, however, her parents Julia Tirabasso and William Jones watched in amazement as their infant finally heard them for the first time with the assistance of cochlear implants.

“It was so subtle and so powerful that it will stay in our hearts for forever,” Julia told Global News. “She has received, basically for Christmas, the gift of hearing.”

Back in June, the parents welcomed their baby girl into the world. It wasn’t until the next day when a fire alarm went off in the hospital that Julia became concerned about her newborn daughter, who remained motionless amid the loud noise.

“It scared me, we were all sleeping in the room and Francesca didn’t move; she didn’t flinch,” Julia told Global News. “She just stayed as she was and I got very nervous… an innate feeling that something was off.”

After several tests, doctors were able to detect the CMV virus through a screening program, led by the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, and conclude that Francesca was deaf, the outlet said.

According to Dr. Sharon Cushing, an otolaryngologist at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, the program has been in place since April and so far, has helped five to six babies detect the virus, CTV News reported.

While most babies who are born with CMV rarely ever show signs or symptoms, those who do show long-term health problems often experience hearing loss, vision loss, and/or developmental or motor delay, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Luckily, because of Francesca’s young age and the doctor’s quick intervention, her brain is more likely to adjust to the implants better than a child who has been unable to hear for years.

“It’s a very different outcome when you put an implant in a child who’s been deaf since birth [versus] when they’re three, four, or five because the brain is already changed,” Dr. Cushing told Global News.

With the cochlear device implanted into her skull, Francesca now becomes the third-youngest baby, aside from two 3-month-olds, at the Toronto hospital to receive the hearing aid.

“When she looked up, it was just like, ‘I hear that’ and it was just unbelievable,” Julia told CTV.

Moving forward, the outlet said, Francesca will be carefully monitored through a hearing therapy program to make sure she does not exhibit any other symptoms of CMV.

Despite having the implants, Francesca’s dad said he is confident that it won’t affect his daughter’s abilities in the future.

“You don’t tell her what she can’t do; she can do ballet, she can do figure skating, she can do hockey,” he told Global News. “It’s up to her to tell you that she can’t do it for whatever reason.”

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