London - When her twin sons, Zack and Dylan, were born profoundly deaf, Deborah Pezzuto feared they would never be able to speak.
But thanks to cochlear implants and pioneering therapy the boys, now aged seven, not only speak fluent English but also Italian.
The brothers were born without any hearing after a suspected infection in the womb is thought to have damaged their ear canals.
However, after being given implants at six months old and auditory visual therapy to help them make sense of the sounds relayed by the devices, the boys can now fully communicate. Pezzuto, 51, who lives in Bath, with husband Alessandro, 47, said: "My kids are so happy to learn the sounds, play music and do everything like other children and their sister can do.
"They are fluent in both Italian and English, because my husband and I are Italian. I would say they are better in English because they live here and all our friends are English. But we speak with them in Italian."
She said her boys also studied French at their school and learned Korean words through their love of Taekwondo. "Once someone with a cochlear implant learns how to hear they can learn any language, it’s amazing," she said.
The mother, who runs a life coaching business, said she and her husband were devastated when they were told their sons were deaf. "I thought: 'Oh my, but we are a talking family, we talk a lot, we can’t live in silence, it’s going to be a very difficult situation'."
But after doctors at John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, fitted the boys’ implants, "their eyes came alive. They could start hearing everything," she said.Daily Mail