“My twin sons, Zack and Dylan, were born with severe to profound hearing loss in July 2011 in New York. The day we learnt about their hearing loss, we were shocked. We could not believe what and why this could have happened to us. Being an Italian family living abroad, we also questioned whether Zack and Dylan would be able to learn more than one language. We were concerned that exposing them to two languages would be too much for them and put them under unnecessary pressure. The NYU Medical Centre Audiology team explained that cochlear implant surgery as early as six months, combined with Auditory Verbal therapy (AVT) would give Zack and Dylan the opportunity to live a very normal life without limitations to what they could achieve.

At 1 month of age we started AVT in NYC and at 6 months the twins received their bilateral cochlear implant (CI). Two weeks after their CIs were activated, they started repeating some letters during the AVT sessions and every day was a discovery of new sounds and words. After two years of AVT we asked my husband's employer to be transferred to the UK because I knew that Auditory Verbal UK was one of the best centres in the world for this therapy and we wanted the best for Zack and Dylan. We quickly started seeing them make incredible progress; the kids began to understand that they have their own ideas and opinions and they started to talk, ask and interact more and more with their peers.

We are hugely grateful to Auditory Verbal UK. Our therapist helped me to understand there are no limits for kids with CIs, and no limits for bilingual cochlear implanted children either. We are convinced every cochlear implanted child can be bilingual or even learn more languages comfortably. Zack and Dylan are currently fluent in English and, during summer holidays in Italy, they speak good Italian with their friends and cousins.

Now seven years old, Zack and Dylan are now thriving at mainstream school in Bath, Somerset, and have developed very different personalities.

Both love to read but Dylan prefers science and history books while Zack loves learning new jokes.

The twins both play chess and a variety of sports.

I want to tell any new parents that AVT was the most important training for our children’s brain and to remember that the sky is the limit!”

Zack and Dylan's mother, Deborah