DENVER (KDVR) — A Colorado boy fighting to be able to hear is making incredible progress after doctors believe he was born deaf.

Kash Clark was born right before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. He had failed his newborn hearing screening and weeks later, many services shut down, so getting into the hospital became a big risk.

The newborn’s failed screening wasn’t a red flag to mom and dad because Kash’s older brother didn’t talk until he was around age 2, so this seemed normal. 

But then around 20 months, we kind of noticed that he wasn’t responding to his name, and we did a clapping test while I was standing behind him and dad was standing in front, and he didn’t respond to me,” Kash’s mom Olivia Clark said. “So, we scheduled a hearing test as soon as we could.”

“He actually has a genetic condition that is autosomal recessive, meaning that neither parent exhibits the condition, but they get one copy of the gene from mom and one copy of the gene from dad, and when that specific combination happens, it results in deafness,” Brittney Slaff, HealthONE pediatric audiologist said. 

Kash met with the team at Rocky Mountain Pediatric ENT Associates and more tests lead doctors to his deaf diagnosis. An MRI then showed Kash qualified for cochlear implants.

“I’ve never seen anybody go through it as fast as he did,” HealthONE Pediatric ENT Dr. Ryan Mitchell said. “He’s about three months out from his surgery. He’s doing great.”

At 2 years old, Kash is defying his initial deaf diagnosis, learning how to speak and sign at the same time.

His family and doctors hope his success story can serve as a learning lesson for many.

“As we come out of COVID precautions and as we ramp up to being fully operational again, if your family was impacted by difficulty scheduling appointments, make sure that they come in,” Slaff said. “It’s never too late. It’s always a good idea.”