A 3-year-old girl has heard the magical sounds of Christmas for the first time — thanks to pioneering brain surgery.
Cork-born Alicja Nowicki, who was deaf from birth, made Irish medical history this year when she became the first child from this country to be fitted with a bionic ear.
The girl, who suffers multiple disorders as a result of a severe case of Charge syndrome, was successfully fitted with an auditory brainstem implant in a complex €60,000 operation in Italy.
She has made enormous strides with her hearing in the past months, and can now identify different sounds.
This has already made the festive season extra special for her Ballintemple-based parents Radek and Ania.
“Alicja can’t speak yet, but she loves listening to music and watching cartoons on TV,” said Ania. “Her quality of life has improved so much since she had the surgery earlier this year.
“It’s a very special time for us now because she can hear all the sounds of Christmas now. We’re calling it Alicja’s first hearing Christmas — and she heard Santa’s voice for the first time last week, which was another lovely moment.”
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