Toby is the youngest son of a special friend of mine. He was born at just 32 weeks gestation and that was after labour had started a whole 8 weeks before. His mum did fantastically well, and somehow she held on.

He was born quite a poorly baby at first and had a lot of treatment in hospital before he could come home. Eventually he was diagnosed profoundly deaf.

When he was first diagnosed, he was issued with standard hearing aids:

(Photo courtesy of Nicola Corazzo)

But before long, it became apparent that they weren’t doing the job. At 16 months old, he was implanted with a cochlear implant of which at first, when initially switched on, looked like this:

2 years later, at 3 and a half years old, he has a processor that looks just like mine, hooks behind his ear, and has stars on the cover. He is an inspiration to me, in just 2 years he has done so well.

Nicola and Toby visited the other weekend, it was at a time that I was feeling particularly low about my CI and was just what I needed. Toby amazed me with how much he had changed since I saw him last. He was so much more grown up, he played happily with my daughters and laughed and smiled and chatted throughout the whole visit. But most of all, the most fantastic thing was – his understanding.

Several times throughout their visit, Nicola would say something when he wasn’t looking and he would repeat it without hesitation. His speech was clear, his sign language fantastic and wow, oh wow, oh wow. He can understand things without lip reading?

I was in shock, I know that this is one of the benefits of a CI, I know there is a high possibility that anyone with a CI can succeed doing this and my hopes are high that I too will be able to – but to see it actually happening, in a child with no previous experience of hearing and so young? Not only did he hear things, but he understood them too. Wow, it will never faze to amaze me, just how miracles can happen and it couldn’t happen to a lovelier little boy.

Its been such a pleasure watching Toby grow up into the handsome adorable young boy he is today after meeting him when he was just months old. At three and a half, he’s got the whole world at his feet. Credit to his wonderful Mum and Dad, and gorgeous older brother Oliver. Such a lovely lovely family.

Here’s to Toby x

(Photo courtesy of Nicola Corazzo)