A deaf mum hears her son say “I love you” for the first time on This Time Next Year

By Marni Dixit September 12, 2017

We're not crying, you're crying!

Liz Zappia was just 15-months-old when she began to lose her hearing, she's now a married mother-of-two and hasn't ever heard her children's voices. Appearing on This Time Next Year, Liz told Karl Stefanovic that her dream was to hear her children say "I love you" for the first time. 

Liz told the host that she depends 100 per cent on lip reading, so it became difficult when she had children because she couldn’t hear them and know what was wrong. The fact she couldn’t hear her babies and know whether they were in pain has meant her anxiety has increased a lot in the years since she became a mother. 


“Most of my life, I coped OK. It wasn’t until I became a mum that the challenge started for me.”

“Not being able to hear them cry, I had to rely a lot on body language and process of elimination to figure out what they wanted.”

Karl joked that there would probably be many parents out there that wished that they couldn't hear their children crying, but for Liz, it's the one thing in life she wants the most. In order to get some hearing back, Liz got a cochlear implant which should increase her hearing from zero to 50 to 80 per cent. The host told an emotional Liz how excited he was for her with tears in his eyes. 

After having her cochlear implant switched on, Liz found it quite overpowering and couldn’t really hear anything straight away, telling the cameras, “I really want to hear my children’s voices more than anything.”


About five to six weeks after having the implant turned on, Liz began hearing sounds like the water from the tap and the clattering of cutlery. When she finally began hearing her kids' voices, she said she felt much more connected to them as a mother. 

Watch the emotional moment Liz's son Lucas tells her he loves her – despite initially saying he didn't want to!

Her husband David told Karl:

“It’s wonderful, the result that she’s gotten… Before she got the implant she used to question her ability as a mum – I don’t know why – but it’s good to see now that she’s thriving. Even without the implant she was phenomenal, and what she achieved in her life before, but this has taken it to a whole new level.”

Appearing on Today this morning, Liz revealed that when she began to hear “it was like a flower slowly opening up.” She added that one of her favourite parts of being able to hear is the fact she can hear what’s happening in another room without having to lip read – especially when her children are talking back!

Image: Channel Nine