Totally deaf toddler has hearing restored in world first gene therapy trial


Staff Member
4 Jun 2021
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Now, this is a good news story to wake up to on a Monday morning. This toddler was born totally deaf, but now with this new gene therapy, she can hear just fine. I've seen how devastating deafness is to people, so this can't come soon enough. If you want to get sense of it, just put on a pair of ear defenders for half an hour and try to be around people who are talking and then try to communicate with them. Oh and forget about listening to the radio.

A British toddler has had her hearing restored after becoming the first person in the world to take part in a pioneering gene therapy trial, in a development that doctors say marks a new era in treating deafness.

Opal Sandy was born unable to hear anything due to auditory neuropathy, a condition that disrupts nerve impulses travelling from the inner ear to the brain and can be caused by a faulty gene.

But after receiving an infusion containing a working copy of the gene during groundbreaking surgery that took just 16 minutes, the 18-month-old can hear almost perfectly and enjoys playing with toy drums.

Her parents were left “gobsmacked” when they realised she could hear for the first time after the treatment. “I couldn’t really believe it,” Opal’s mother, Jo Sandy, said. “It was … bonkers.”

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