David Alianiello has had severe hearing loss all his life and never heard his 5-year-old daughter, Skyli, sing — until now.
The 34-year-old Baltimore teacher, who was born with congenital hearing loss, recently got a cochlear implant to restore his hearing. On Monday, when the device was activated, the man got a new lease on life and a special song from his young daughter.
“My daughter sang ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’ to see what I could pick up from that! It was very sweet,” Alianiello shares with PEOPLE. “I had no idea what I was feeling in my head was actually a sound. I’m not used to being able to hear that high of a frequency. It was a strange sensation.”
He received the implant at University of Maryland Medical Center with his wife and daughter at his side.
“I’m excited for him to experience the world that I think we sometimes take for granted, just playing music in the car and being able to unwind,” Alianiello’s fiancé Cortney Carnaggio told WBAL.
Alianiello says he decided to get a cochlear implant (through Cochlear.com) after hearing from another recipient who revealed how her life had changed for the better. He tells PEOPLE he’s looking forward to enhancing his love to his family and contributions to students at Villa Cresta Elementary School.
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Alianiello spoke with PEOPLE the day after receiving the implant, and couldn’t help but gush about all the new sounds he’s hearing.
“This morning when I woke up I could hear something. I couldn’t figure out what it was,” he recalls. “Then I realized it was my breathing! With my hearing aid, I can hear my breathing. My cochlear implant was picking up on it. That kind of stuff has been happening throughout the day.”
Now the father, who is expecting another child with his fiancé, says he’s excited for his wedding on Saturday — not only to say “I do,” but to hear his family and friends cheering for the couple.
“I’m excited for the sounds that come with the wedding. The clapping, the cheering, that kind of stuff. I’m excited to see how my brain will process all of that,” he says.
“I’m excited! We’re gonna have music playing. It’s gonna be really interesting to see how my brain can process all these different sounds coming in, especially the music when we’re dancing to our first song as a married couple.”
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