MADERA COUNTY, Calif. --It's something we take for granted: the ability to hear. But for the hearing impaired, the work done at the Audiology Department at Valley Children's Hospital is life-changing.
The first time baby Ariana was fitted with a hearing aid, the moment was captured on video.
"She was kind of looking around, look at Dr. Duran, looked at me. Once I started talking to her she felt like 'Okay, I can hear my mom clearly,'" said Ashley Swiggart, Ariana's mother.
Dr. Dan Duran fit Ariana with her tiny hearing aids.
"If you want to see miracles on a regular basis, just come and spend a day in our department," Duran said.
The audiology wing has three hearing testing booths and the labs used for fittings and moldings.
"We've fit over 600 hearing aids. We've done over 800 ear molds. We've dispensed over 30 thousand batteries and we've done over 200 repairs for kids in the valley from Stockton to Bakersfield," Duran said.
Swiggart was stunned when she learned her first born, Marcos, was hearing impaired. Her experience at the therapy center prepared her for Ariana's diagnosis.
"When I had her and she failed the hearing test, I automatically knew. I knew my daughter, she has a hearing loss, she's going to need hearing aids just like her big brother. She'll be perfectly fine. She'll rock them just like her brother does," Swiggart said.
It's difficult to learn in a silent world. Duran said early intervention is important.
"If they don't receive services soon enough, it can affect their behavior. It can affect their ability to communicate vocally, so it can affect their speech and it can affect their academics," Duran said.
Ashley Swiggart is grateful for the kind hearts and pediatric experts at Valley Children's Hospital. She has a special tattoo with her kids' hearing aids and the words: "Hear with your ears, listen with your heart."
"People take it for granted, and they don't realize how much they need it until they don't have it," Swiggart said.
"It's just an exciting and promising moment, when you see a child start to hear, because it's like that whole window of there world opens up," Duran said.
Duran said the most common cause of hearing loss in kids is due to ear infections. If you suspect your child has trouble hearing, contact your pediatrician.