Hearing my little girl say 'what's that noise' brought me to tears
When Kirsty Bayles' daughter came out of the Children's Centre in Walker Street, Hull, and asked her mum what that sound was, Kirsty was choked with tears.
"It really tugged at the heartstrings ," said the mum-of- two.
"She said, 'Mummy, what's that noise?'
"I couldn't hear anything. She said, 'Mummy, I think it's my feet on the floor'."
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It was the first time Lillie Bayles, 6, had been able to hear her own footsteps.
The youngster was diagnosed with partial deafness when she started in reception class at Wold Primary School in the city.
She had never heard the family dog Harvey's paws skidding on the laminate flooring.
The sound of a bus stopping made her jump a mile, the first time she heard it.
When Lillie had her newborn hearing screening test, shop worker Kirsty was scared as she watched the professionals prodding her baby.
"They came into the ward with all this equipment," said Kirsty.
"You're on tenterhooks because they're testing your little girl."
When Lillie failed her first test, the doctor soothed her parents Kirsty and Danny's fears, saying that most newborns fail the first time. There could be debris in the ear canal or fluid in the ear.
"They decided there was nothing to worry about and we took her home," Kirsty said.
Lillie started talking from 18 months, and although she seemed like any other youngster, there were still nagging doubts in Kirsty's mind.
"There were just little things," she said. "She learnt her sounds when she started speaking, just not as well as her friends.
"We'd be watching TV and she'd ask us to turn it up.
"My husband and I couldn't tell if she was being silly."
On her first day of school last September, the school nurse noticed Lillie was having problems hearing.
Lillie was then diagnosed with mild bilateral sensorineural hearing loss, which means she can't hear certain sounds and struggles with high-pitched noises, especially.
She had a hearing aid fitted – pink, her chosen colour – and was back to school, two days later.
But it was hard for Lillie to deal with at first.
"She struggled for the first month to be around a class full of screaming children," said Kirsty, 24. "She's gone from hearing muffled sounds to hearing everything."
Kirsty believes that if a hearing test was included in the two-year checks, which make sure toddlers are walking and talking as they should be, this would have been spotted.
"When we took her to the doctors, we were told it was just ear infections," she said.
"If she'd had another hearing test at two, it would have been picked up sooner."
Since she has had the hearing aid fitted, she is racing along at school.
"You can tell an amazing difference from her last year, to her speech now," said Kirsty, who studies computing and design with the Open University.
She gets two one-on-one lessons of tuition a week now, to get her back up to speed.
Lillie used to get by, spending most of her time staring intently at people's mouths moving, to work out words.
When faced with a group of people, she used to hide away in the corner because she couldn't tell what was going on.
"Now we've seen how far she's come, and how much confidence she's gained," said Kirsty, of west Hull.
"She's come out of her shell."
It has also helped bring her closer to her brother, Riley, four.
"He's a little chatterbox. He's been so sweet to her, he asks her about her hearing aid," Kirsty said.
"They still fight like cat and dog, though."
Kirsty and her husband were married last year, and the couple are thrilled with their little girl's progress.
"It's been a great thing to happen, I just wish it had happened sooner," she said.
"It couldn't take too much to do a little hearing test, to get that hole in the net closed."