Addy Bennett is an adorable two-and-a-half-year-old Anchorage girl who’s parents, May and Philip Bennett, love her very much. May said when Addy was born she had no idea her daughter would face the challenges she’s experiencing now.
“I envisioned the normal,” said May. “By 8-months she’s going to be doing this and I’m going to be doing that, that’s what I envisioned when I was pregnant. But, obviously, it didn’t turn out that way.”
When Addy was eight months old she was diagnosed with severe cataracts. They’ve since been removed and replaced by thick glasses, but her vision is very limited.
May said other issues followed. Her daughter is now fed through a “G tube” and has difficulty with motor skills.
A year ago they got the most surprising news of all, Addy couldn’t hear.
“It was a total surprise when they told us she’s hardly hearing anything,” said May.
May said their daughter seemed to respond to sound, but Dr. Mark Lorenz said Addy’s hearing loss was profound.
Last week Lorenz fitted Addy with a device that he believes could turn her hearing loss around.
It’s a cochlear implant and Addy now has two of them, just inside the skin behind each ear. Dr. Lorenz said the implant turns sound waves into electrical signals that are processed by the brain as sound.
He said Addy is a great candidate for the device.
“We are very optimistic that what she will hear will be very similar to what you and me hear when we hear sound,” said Lorenz.
But while he’s confident that Addy will hear sound, possibly for the first time, he’s not so sure what her reaction will be.
“It will be very interesting to see how it goes. Some children find it overwhelming. Some children sparkle when they hear their mother’s first words to them. I’m hoping she’ll be in the later category,” said Lorenz.
Addy’s parents don’t know how their daughter will respond either, but they’ll find out soon.
Addy has an appointment to turn on her cochlear implants Friday afternoon.
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