A young boy born deaf has been given the gift of hearing for Christmas thanks to a new surgical proedure at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford.

Doctors discovered Carter Romeo could not hear a thing within a few days of his birth, but surgery has left him able to respond to basic words and music.

Carter, who is 22 months old and lives in Weldon Road, Marston, became the first child in Oxford to undergo bilateral simultaneous cochlea implants in June this year.

The operation involved the fitting of small complex electronic devices under the skin around his inner ear.

Carter’s hearing has gradually improved, and in the past couple of weeks he has begun to recognise words and turn his head when his parents call him.

His mother Rebecca Irons, said: “The change in him has been amazing. He is 22 months old and until now has lived in a world of silence. But he is now hearing for the first time, recognising our voices, music and different sounds.

“It must all seem a little chaotic to him. But he just seems to be much more involved in everything going on around him. It is just lovely to see him being able to express himself and learn that noise has meaning.”

Two of Carter’s grandparents were deaf, and Ms Irons said she was devastated when her son’s condition was picked up by routine screening.

She said when she was told the John Radcliffe Hospital had begun to offer double hearing implants to children as young as one, she was initially anxious about the five-hour operation.

However, she decided to go ahead and now Carter can hear his parents and three sisters Erin, 12, Tasha, 10, and Alexis, eight months.

Carter’s father David Romeo said: “Carter is making great progress. I grew up with two deaf parents and know about the difficulties they faced.”

Surgeon James Ramsden, an ear, nose and throat consultant, said: “The two cochlea implants will give Carter hearing that is as close to normal as can be achieved.

“It is likely by the time he is three or four years old his language will have caught up with his hearing, and he will be ready to go to school and flourish.”

Until earlier this year profoundly deaf children were only offered one cochlea implant. But new National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidelines recommended health trusts should fund double implants, which cost about £42,000.

The implants do not restore normal hearing, but instead they give a deaf person a useful representation of sounds in the environment and in the understanding of speech.

Carter will also receive additional support from a specialist team of audiologists and speech and language therapists.