A toddler who was born with a limb difference and a very rare genetic condition that causes hearing loss and deafness lit up when his cochlear implant was activated for the very first time, signaling to his mom that something extraordinary was happening.
20-month-old Rhett Sisson, from Covington, Washington, was born with Lacrimo‐auriculo‐dento‐digital (LADD) syndrome, which results in malformations that impact the likes of hearing.
Rhett’s older sibling also has LADD and suffers from hearing loss, so his family was able to prepare for the results when, at birth, Rhett failed his hearing screening.
The youngster was then referred to a children’s hospital, where doctors confirmed that he had profound sensorineural hearing loss and would be a candidate for cochlear implants.
The big moment then came on November 13, at Seattle Children’s Hospital, when Rhett’s implant in his right ear was set to be activated for the first time.
As soon as the processor was turned on, Rhett looked slightly confused – only to start beaming with joy and signaling to his mom that something special was happening.
Rhett’s mom, Madison, 32, said she did not know what to expect when she went into the hospital that day, but when she saw her son’s joyous reaction, she couldn’t help but fight back tears.
Madison, who posted the video on her TikTok channel, said: “The moment she started to turn the processor on, he seemed pretty confused like his big brother was maybe doing something, and then he just seemed to be amazed as he reached up to his head to tell us something was happening.
“Going into the appointment, we weren’t sure what his reaction would be or if he would even have one.
“We were preparing ourselves for the worst but hoping for the best.
“Once we realized he was hearing, it was hard to fight back tears – we were so excited for our boy!
“The response from the video has been so heartwarming.
“He has had everyone in tears.
“We’ve shared his entire cochlear implant journey on social media, so there were many people cheering him on and finally getting to see this progress was so exciting for everyone.
“Our families are so overjoyed and excited for him.”