New tech, Stanford help Morgan Hill boy get hearing back after 6 years

PALO ALTO, Calif. (KGO) -- After six years, a Morgan Hill boy has his hearing back. Thanks to some new technology and an incredible team of doctors at Stanford. Now, he hopes to inspire others who may be going through something similar.

Inside the Children's Hearing Center at Stanford Children's Health, Amelia Gomez and her 9-year-old son Joshua are preparing for a big change.

"The things we take for granted, hearing the smallest things, it gets me super emotional," she said.

At the age of 3, Joshua broke his elbow and was sent to the hospital. A routine check found something wrong with his ears and he eventually lost most of his hearing.

"It was heartbreaking because there wasn't anything I could do about it," said Amelia. "All I could do was take him to the doctors and hope that, maybe this will work this time."

There were multiple surgeries over a five-year period, but nothing seemed to work for Joshua. Until he was referred to Stanford.
That's where a specialist diagnosed him with congenital cholesteatomas.

"He would have drainage from his ears, odors from his ears," said Amelia.

That meant in-ear hearing aids were off the table. So last fall, doctors tried a different type of implant.

"Instead of traveling through the ear as a typical hearing aid does, where it's in the ear, and going through all those parts of the ear, it's actually using the bone for the sound to be able to be transmitted to the inner ear," said Dr. Melissa Tribble, Stanford Children's Health.

We were there as Joshua was outfitted with the Cochlear Baha 5, a cutting edge device that has allowed Joshua to hear out of both ears clearly for the very first time.

The device, made for the iPhone, gives him an opportunity to use Apple technology to better his life.

"If you have a hearing aid, don't think that people will bully you and be mean to you cause really you're really special and it's really something that's good about you," said Joshua.

Joshua will enter the fifth grade this fall.
Copyright © 2022 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.