GREENE COUNTY, Pa. - A Greene County little girl got the best possible birthday present -- the gift of hearing.
Cyia Ritenour, who was born deaf, heard for the first time two days before her first birthday.
“I will probably cry,” the girl’s dad, Cecil Ritenour, told Channel 11 Monday before Cyia's cochlear implants were activated at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. “That’s my baby girl. She’s going to hear her daddy.”
And, she did hear her daddy on Tuesday.
“Cyia, Cyia,” Cecil Ritenour called her name.
Channel 11 watched as Cyia eyes lit up.
“She heard those first noises, and there was an instant response. That was the best part,” said Cecil Ritenour about the first beeps that were played in his daughter’s ears.
Cyia's audiologist attached a magnetic microphone to her head and slowly turned on the volume.
“Oh, it’s beautiful,” said audiologist Emily Smith.
The second best part of the day for the Ritenours day was singing “Happy Birthday” and having Cyia hear it.
Doctors put the cochlear implants in Cyia's ears last month.
The implants are waterproof, so Cyia will be able to swim and bathe with them.
She won’t be able to wear the implants 24/7. She’ll need to turn them off before bed, so the family is learning sign language.
About 50 children a year get cochlear implants at Children’s Hospital.
“They are wonderful devices. They give people the opportunity to hear. To sit and have these moments with family is pretty remarkable,” said Smith.
Cyia's birthday is on Thanksgiving. The Ritenours said they are thankful for a lot this year.