Get ready for a good cry, because this may be the most heartwarming video you’ll see all week.
In the clip, 1-year-old Ayla Esler is sitting on the lap of her mom, Anna. Ayla was born deaf, but she has just been fitted with cochlear implants, which enable her to hear. Doctors at Cook Children’s Health Care System in Texas decided to document the moment last month when Ayla hears sound for the first time.
They also captured the moment when her ecstatic mom cries with joy. The video was posted on the hospital’s YouTube channel, then quickly went viral, racking up an astounding 73,600-plus views.
As the 26-second video goes on, you can see Anna start to sob while Ayla smiles and moves around and touches her right ear. At one point, Ayla’s father Will wipes a tear from his eye. The emotional moment came after a four-hour surgery to put the cochlear devices in each of Ayla’s ears.
“When I saw her happy and dancing and responding to sound for the first time in her life I just lost it because we’ve been waiting a long time for that,” Anna told Fox 4 News.
Will and Anna shared even more in a Q&A featured on Cook Children’s website, explaining how everything has been since their daughter had surgery and became a viral sensation.
Doctors determined that Ayla was deaf soon after she was born. “Being deaf isn’t bad, it’s just different,” the couple said in the Q&A. “And so we had spent a lot of time preparing ourselves for what life would be like without Ayla hearing. We had to let go of some things, like her knowing the sound of our voices, the sound of music, the sound of laughter. We had to prepare ourselves to see her enjoy things in a different way.”
When the couple found out that cochlear implants were an option for their daughter, they were hopeful. “Sound became a reality for her again, and we are so grateful for that,” they said.
Since getting the cochlear implants, the Eslers said there are still some challenges ahead, but Ayla is happily adjusting to being able to hear.
“She dances to music, she’s starting to calm down when we sing to her if she gets upset,” the Eslers said. “We really couldn’t be more thankful for the new opportunities our little girl has thanks to everyone in her life.”
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