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Video: Adorable reaction as profoundly deaf one-year-old from Ealing hears sound for the first time

Baby Maxime stops what he's doing and looks at his mum as he realises what is happening Credit: ITV News

By Luke Hanrahan: ITV London reporter

Like almost all newborn babies in the UK, Maxime Foussadier was given an NHS hearing test at birth.

A programme that picks up the one or two in every 1,000 British children who are born deaf.

For his parents, Giulia and Julien, it was heart-breaking.

Their son, born into a multilingual family had inherited congenital hearing loss.

Giulia, who is Italian, and Julien, who is French, had anticipated their son would grow up to speak three languages.

The diagnosis was a bombshell:

For me the hardest part was the thought 'how am I going to communicate with him?'

It was a shock at the beginning, it was quite devastating.

– Julien Foussadier

It's been quite a journey, the discovery was heart-breaking, there's no denying that.

– Giulia Bove

Today their son heard for the first time:

Maxime was born without a functioning cochlear, but as his parents discovered, there is a procedure with an extremely high success rate that could allow their son to hear.

Cochlear implant surgery isn't a cure for deafness, but will help Max to experience sound - to learn to speak.

I remember meeting the speech therapist for the first time and I thought 'all the technology is out there'.

We are incredibly lucky that Max was born here because of the new born screening, not every country has the new born screening programme.

A lot of parents find out later which is still fine but the earlier you catch it the better, so we feel incredibly blessed.

– Giulia Bove
Max's parents Julien Foussadier and Giulia Bove Credit: ITV News

A cochlear implant is a device made up of parts that uses small electrical currents to stimulate the hearing nerve, which then sends signals to the brain which are interpreted as sound.

The first part consists of a receiver and stimulator, which is implanted under the skin behind the ear.

The other is made up of a microphone, a sound processor and a transmitter that is placed externally over the receiver, held in place magnetically.

To create sound, the microphone picks up and amplifies noises that the sound processor then filters, giving priority to audible speech.

The processor sends electrical signals to the transmitter, which in turn sends the processed sound signals to the internal receiver electromagnetically.

Maxime today became the 1,000th child at Great Ormond Street hospital to benefit from this revolutionary four-hour surgical procedure.

The components used may have got smaller, but the technology has changed very little since operations began in the early 1990s.

The biggest change is the age at which operations now take place.

Children born deaf who receive cochlear implants before the age of two do considerably better with spoken language than those who receive implants at a later age.

It is a complicated operation not only in it's intricacy but also it's length.

It's one of the most rewarding things to do. I get to see the patients before hand and I follow them through to adult services.

That's a rare thing, as surgeons we often just do an operation and don't see the child again, whereas here I get to see them grow up.

– Lesley Cochrane - Surgeon, Great Ormond Street Hospital