Iraqi Boy Receives Positive Feedback After Cochlear Implant

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Great news for an Iraqi boy who had an operation at UCSF to restore his hearing. Doctors at UCSF just wrapped up his first hearing tests, and they were successful.

For 3-year-old Mustafa Ghazwan, the thrill of being seven floors up at UCSF is all about what he can see.

But in a few minutes, that will change to what he can hear.

Audiologist Colleen Polite is preparing to activate an earpiece that will feed audio into one of his damaged ears, for the first time since the blast from a U.S. missile knocked out his hearing.

I'm going to turn it on, see if we put stimulus on all the electrodes, if we get a response at that point," said Polite, AuD.

The waiting is tense for almost everyone except Mustafa, as the audiologist increases the signal strength.

Then, very subtle changes -- his eyes glanced over and his expression becomes annoyed.

"We didn't necessarily see the big head turn when he hears sound. He had more of a quieting type of effect when he turned to his dad. So I think the reaction's perfect," said Polite, AuD.

"And just knowing the cochlear implant seems to be working is enough for Mustafa's father, who believes the real miracles are still ahead.

"He is going to hear little noises, voices and sound. He wants him to hear good things, nice things, music and things," said Mustafa's father Ghazwan Al-Nadawi, though an interpreter.

Since the audio coming from the implant is electronic, Mustafa will have to learn to interpret the sounds over time.

He'll be working with specialists at UCSF on a weekly basis, to develop his brain's ability to do that.

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