At 8-months-old, Jayde Scholl was found abandoned on the street in China. The girl, who was born deaf and is now 5 years old, has experienced several life-changing moments — all in the last few months.
Scholl, according to KOTV News on 6, was adopted by a couple in Tulsa, Okla., and brought to the U.S. in December. Then, just this week, she was able to hear for the very first time.
Of course the local news was there to capture her reaction when her cochlear implant was turned on Tuesday. Watch her glee when she hears the noises around her:
Scholl could not have been adopted by a more appropriate couple, given her hearing condition. The 5-year-old’s adoptive mother is Dr. Jacque Scholl, who owns of the Scholl Center for Communication Disorders. But KOTV reported Dr. Scholl saying she didn’t even know the girl was deaf at first.
“I have to tell you it was a little breathtaking,” Dr. Scholl said to KOTV of the experience witnessing her daughter hear for the first time. “She’s never looked at us when we’ve done anything or said anything, we’ve sat behind her with pots and pans and she wore hearing aids but she had no residual hearing.”
In addition to this groundbreaking moment for the younger Scholl, KOTV reported she will also be among the first children worldwide next month to get a smaller implant made possible by a new processor. KJRH expounded upon the device further, calling it a RONDO.
According to a press release from the device’s manufacturer, MED-EL, the RONDO was just approved by the FDA in November 2012. It is a single-unit, ear-free (most cochlear implants wrap around the ear and connect to the head) device that is more discreet because, as the press release stated, it can disappear under a person’s hair. Fewer parts also mean more durability.
In other hearing-related news, researchers at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University recently discovered the genetic mutation that is tied to some deafness.
According to Israel Innovation News (via Jspace), the mutation was found in the LINC family protein. Here’s what happens to cause this genetic disorder:
For generations, members of these families had been suffering from hearing loss, but the medical cause remained a mystery. Using deep genetic sequencing, a technology used to sequence the entire human genome, [Professor Karen] Avraham discovered that the hearing impaired members of both families had a mutated version of the protein Nesprin4, a part of the LINC group of proteins that links the cell’s nucleus to the inner wall of the cell.
In these families, the cell nucleus, which contains our entire DNA, moves to the top of the cell rather than being anchored to the bottom, its normal place. Though this has little impact on the functioning of most of the body’s cells, it is devastating for the cells responsible for hearing, Avraham explains. “The position of the nucleus is important for receiving the electrical signals that determine proper hearing,” she says. “Without the ability to receive these signals correctly, the entire cascade of hearing fails.”
With this discovery, the researchers believe it could help pave the way for new treatments or gene therapy.
(H/T: Daily Mail)