ROANOKE, Va. – Colin Hushour is a 5-year-old living in Roanoke who plays, laughs and sings like a normal kid, but his life is a little more difficult than most.
"A very long word for you, deaf. I'm deaf," Colin said.
Jenni and Jeff Hushour adopted Colin at birth, but started to worry when he failed his newborn hearing test.
"We were told for a really long time that it was probably just fluid, you know, it'll just pass, but we both had our gut feeling,” Jenni said.
They were right. Doctors later confirmed Colin was profoundly deaf.
"Will he ever utter ‘Mommy? Daddy?’ Will he hear us tell him ‘I love you?’" Jeff said.
"It was like nothing. I couldn't hear anything, not even a word until I got my implants," Colin said.
Colin got his cochlear implant for one ear at just 13 months old and the other at 18 months.
Jenni and Jeff eagerly awaited that magical moment when doctors flipped the switch, but it didn’t happen like they imagined. When they turned the cochlear implant on for the first time, Colin screamed.
"It wasn't a big reaction at all, so we had that panic of, ‘Did it work?’" Jenni said. "The professionals said, ‘Don't worry. His brain has to learn. It's got to figure out what all this is and process it.’”
It took months, but they ultimately realized it was working.
"It helps me hear," Colin said.
"That’s the greatest gift is to hear him sing, to hear him say, ‘I love you, Mommy. I love you, Daddy,’" Jeff said.
He can do much more than that though. In fact, his doctors say he's ahead of the curve, learning at the level of a 7- or 8-year-old.
"I expect the best from him and honestly, he delivers," Jeff said.