The adorable moment a deaf three-month-old baby hears her mother singing a favourite lullaby for the first time has been caught on camera.
Baby Olivia Ervin, from Pennsylvania, was born in November and confirmed deaf a month later after she failed two hearing tests.
Olivia’s mum Edrea Kemp, 28, says her daughter weighed just 4lbs 2oz at birth and contracted cytomegalovirus, a common viral infection, which is believed to be at the root of her hearing loss.
However, two months on, the baby girl has received her first set of hearing aids and a video captures the moment she hears Edrea singing the lullaby ‘Baby of mine’ for the first time to her.
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Little Olivia Ervin, from Pennsylvania, (pictured with her mother Edrea Kemp, 28) was born in November and tests confirmed she was deaf when she was a month old
The adorable baby was born weighing just 4lbs 2oz, and doctors say the viral infection cytomegalovirus is behind her hearing problems. Earlier this month, Olivia received her first set of hearing aids which have enabled her to hear for the first time
In the adorable video, Edrea can be seen cradling her baby in the hospital while singing to her saying: ‘You’ve never heard it like that before have you’
Edrea said that she felt ‘ pretty devastated’ when she and Ricky got the news that baby Olivia was deaf but says Ricky, 38, (pictured right) ‘held it together’ for the both of them
Edrea says: ‘It was an amazing being able to sing to Olivia knowing that for the first time in her life that she could actually hear.’
In the video, Edrea can be seen cradling her baby in the hospital while singing to her as her partner Ricky, 38, films the duo, saying: ‘You’ve never heard it like that before have you!’
Edrea said that she felt ‘pretty devastated’ when she and Ricky got the news that baby Olivia was deaf.
WHAT IS THE VIRUS CYTOMEGALOVIRUS?
Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a common virus that is usually harmless. Sometimes it causes problems in babies if you get it during pregnancy (congenital CMV).
CMV is related to the herpes virus that causes cold sores and chickenpox. The Your immune system usually controls the virus and does not usually cause symptoms.
However CMV can cause serious health problems in some babies who get the virus before birth, and in people who have a weakened immune system.
She says: ‘We had been convinced that she could hear because she was very alert and seemed to respond to any little sound she heard.’
‘Initially it was pretty hard to take; I went the full emotional route of kind of falling apart in that moment.’
Ricky, however, on the other hand ‘held it together’ for the both of them and pushed forward with options for their little girl.
She explains: ‘Ricky was being very strategic and logical, pushing aside all of the emotions, so we had very opposite reactions to it.’
From there, the couple were referred by the audiologist to a program called Early Intervention, that supports parents of children with any form of disability.
Through this program the family have been connected with other families with deaf children and a disability educator, as well as getting hearing aids made for the tiny baby.
Edrea says of the moment she noticed her daughter could now hear: ‘It was a really sweet moment, also a really sad moment because she was a little bit overwhelmed but you could see the wheels turning in her head as she was trying to figure out “what is this new sensation”.’
The doting mum sang the lullaby she has sung to her baby since birth and within minutes Olivia had stopped crying and listened intently.
She says: ‘When she’s upset I’ll hold her really close and sing to her really loudly and I thought she had to recognise at least the tone and vibrations by now so maybe that will calm her down and it seemed to work.
‘She was looking at me in shock like “I know that” and it seemed to really click with her.’
Snuggled up! The three-month-old swaddled in blankets alongside the family pet, Maddie
After Olivia’s birth, the couple were referred by the audiologist to a program called Early Intervention, which supports parents of children with any form of disability. (Pictured, Edrea with Olivia in hospital)
After an exhausting first day getting used to the new sounds Olivia, pictured with father Ricky, settled into her hearing aids and was all smiles the following day hearing her mum talk to her
Edrea and Ricky intend to learn and use sign language fluently with their daughter to give her every option possible (Pictured, Edrea and Olivia at home)
After an exhausting first day getting used to the new sounds Olivia settled into her hearing aids and was all smiles the following day hearing her mum talk to her.
It will be a few weeks before the parents know if the hearing aids will be enough but it is likely that Olivia will need at least one cochlear implant as her right ear has almost no hearing at all.
Whatever the case, Erin and Ricky intend to learn and use sign language fluently with their daughter to give her every option possible, allowing her to choose her form of communication and be able to communicate with the deaf community.
Edrea adds: ‘Even though both of us have deaf family members I know some sign language but not a lot and we didn’t take advantage of the knowledge that our family members had until we needed it.
The pair also want to encourage other parents in the same situation to remain positive and push through the ‘grief phase’ and shock, knowing that there is a ‘whole new world’ at the other side (Pictured, Ricky and Olivia at home)
‘There should be more available for sign language, more understanding for the deaf community and really any disability.’
The pair also want to encourage other parents in the same situation to remain positive and push through the ‘grief phase’ and shock, knowing that there is a ‘whole new world’ at the other side.
‘After getting through that mountain of grief that our child isn’t going to experience the world that we expected we now understand that this is a whole new community that she gets to be a part of now and we get to be a part of it with her.
‘It’s just a new journey, it’s not a sad journey.’