Kalid Talo

Parents will sacrifice anything for their child. In toddler Kalid Talo’s case, his mother Muna searched the world over to find the expertise she needed to give her son the gift of sound. She chose CHEO, meaning she and her husband must live apart now that she has relocated to Canada for the sake of their son.

Muna knew something was amiss early on. “Kalid would be going toward something he’s not supposed to touch and I would say his name loudly,” Muna recalls. “He wouldn’t even look at me – let alone be startled.”

Muna knew something was amiss early on. “Kalid would be going toward something he’s not supposed to touch and I would say his name loudly,” Muna recalls. “He wouldn’t even look at me – let alone be startled.”

Muna began making calls and researching hospitals, audiologists, and experts across the globe. She was told to go to CHEO.

“We’re the only centre that really has all of the audiology, auditory verbal therapy, the cochlear implant program, an ENT team, neuropsychologists and social workers available for patients like Kalid,” says Rosemary Somerville, Kalid’s auditory verbal therapist, beaming with pride.   

But getting to the moment where Kalid could actually hear something was months in the making. He was given hearing aids, which did virtually nothing. Rosemary says it became clear early on that Kalid would need cochlear implants.  His mother was nervous about the surgery – but not about handing over her child to the surgical team. “They treat him like he’s their child. I feel completely comfortable. When he’s at CHEO it’s like he’s at home,” says Muna.   

The 12 hour procedure involved placing an implant into Kalid’s skull, under the skin and drilling into the bone behind his ear canal. This created a channel from the surface of the skull where the implant sits. The tip of the implant goes inside the inner ear, and stimulates the cochlear nerve directly so Kalid can hear.

Four weeks later, Kalid sitting comfortably in Rosemary’s arms and followed by Muna, makes his way to see audiologist Liz Shaw-Picard who will run a series of tests to see if the devices are working.

Kalid reacts – surprised at the buzzing and pinging noises he’s hearing – pulling at the magnetic leads to his implants.  But then – he hears his mother’s voice for the first time.  With her son sitting on her lap, Muna says his name – and he sits eyes wide with a growing smile. Muna’s face is streaked with tears of joy.

Two weeks after that, Kalid started saying “Ma-ma.” Muna says he’s picking up language quickly. “It’s overwhelming that he can finally hear me – and that in time he’ll be able to communicate,” she says.  “We’ll work on comprehension next – so he can learn to talk back to us.  It took some time, but he’s getting used to it and enjoying sound!”

CHEO will remain Kalid’s second home.  He’ll visit once or twice a week until he turns 18.    

“I searched the world over to find the best care for my son,” Muna says. “There is no doubt in my mind that it was CHEO.  They gave us a great gift and treated us like family. It’s a decision I would make all over again – for my son.”

And now Kalid’s world is no longer silent.

Upcoming CHEO Events

There are so many different events that happen in support of CHEO and for that we are most grateful. Please check out our special events calendar so you can join us and help make a difference. Feel free to become involved as a volunteer or organize your own event.

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