Wesley Chapel toddler born deaf receives gift of hearing for Christmas

Pasco County

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A 2-year-old girl from Wesley Chapel is receiving the gift of hearing just in time for the holiday.  

Leighton McIntosh was born deaf.  

“It was scary, you know. We were devastated with the initial diagnosis. We came home shocked. We don’t have any family history with hearing loss,” Leighton’s mom Nina McIntosh said.  

The McIntosh family tells 8 On Your Side they tried hearing aids for little Leighton. When they didn’t see any results, they decided to try a cochlear implant. 

Leighton received her first implant earlier this year and underwent surgery for her second implant in November. Leighton’s cochlear implant was activated last week. 

“We decided she would need a cochlear implant if she was going to have access to sound. We were scared for the surgery, but it was way less scary than we thought it would be,” said McIntosh. 

Now Leighton is hearing for the first time and just in time for her favorite holiday – Christmas.

Leighton’s father Spencer said it took him some time to get used to his daughter being able to hear his voice.  

“The first time I said her name, she turned around and was like ‘yes, how can I help you?’ That was one of the moments that stick out in my mind,” said Spencer McIntosh. 

The McIntosh family decided to share their story in hopes of encouraging other families who experience hearing loss. They want them to know they don’t have to live in a world of isolation.  

“I think it can be very daunting getting a diagnosis of a child with hearing loss. So I just want other parents to know when their kids get diagnosed there’s hope and there are options,” Leighton’s mom said. “There is a giant community out there willing to help and offer support and we have been blessed to find that.”

Leighton now looks forward to watching her favorite movie “Frozen,” which her mother says is much more enjoyable with her improved ability to hear. 

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