Delight as little Evie can hear for the first time after op

Emily Small (37) with her daughter Evie Small (22 months old) at their home in Horndean.  Picture: Sarah Standing
Emily Small (37) with her daughter Evie Small (22 months old) at their home in Horndean. Picture: Sarah Standing
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A TOT who was born deaf can now hear thanks to a bionic ear.

Evie Small was born without the nerves needed to hear but following pioneering surgery has amazed her parents by not only responding to sounds but uttering her first words.

Her parents David and Emily, from Horndean, have uploaded some of those magical first moments onto the video sharing website YouTube.

Evie can be seen laughing and smiling as she dashes around with her dolly in a toy buggy.

Suddenly she repeats the word her proud mother has been saying: ‘Mama.’

It proved that the gruelling operation, which News readers have helped pay for, has worked.

Evie, who is two next month, was fitted with a bionic ear in an operation in Italy in June.

It will cost the family, from Horndean, £60,000. But they have another 18 months to pay for it.

After more than a month there, under the care of pioneering surgeon Professor Vittorio Colletti, the family are enjoying being home.

Writing on Evie’s fundraising website Mrs Small said: ‘Evie continues to amaze us with her hearing, responding to clapping, motorbikes and music.

‘We received her activation report which confirms that all 12 electrodes are working and she is responding to sounds at low to mid frequency as well as high – as low as 500Hz which means she is able to hear at speech levels – this is truly remarkable.

‘It’s just so wonderful to see, thank you so much everyone for making this happen.’

There is still some way to go to reach the £60,000.

Richard Howell, who is a friend from the family church, Holy Trinity Blendworth, Horndean, has added to the pot by doing a back-breaking 110 holes of golf in just one day.

Mr Howell, 74, of First Avenue, Waterlooville, said: ‘I teed off at 6.40am at Beachlands Golf Club, on Hayling, and finished at 7pm.

I felt very privileged to be able to do something for Evie. She is a lovely little girl and they are a lovely young family.

‘I’ve managed to raise close to £1,400 now.

‘I’d like to thank everyone who sponsored me.’

If you would like to donate to the appeal for funds go to

Pioneering procedure

Evie was born with a condition called Goldenhar Syndrome which means she has no hearing, facial or balance nerves. Only four babies a year are born with the condition in the UK.

Her parents David and Emily Small discovered a pioneering operation where a small electronic device is implanted in the brain, effectively connecting it with the ear.

It became a desperate race to raise the £60,000 needed because for the operation to work it must be carried out before the child is two years old.

A paddle with 12 electrodes, called an auditory brainstem implant, was fitted in June but doctors had to wait four weeks for the brain swelling to go down before they could turn it on.

The operation has been a success and Evie is undergoing intensive speech therapy to help her speak.