Cork tot shows first signs of being able to hear after ‘bionic’ implant op

Experts at an American clinic have confirmed that a three-year-old boy has shown the first signs of being able to hear since undergoing a pioneering bionic ear implant.

Speech and language therapists at the world-renowned John Tracy Clinic in California have given little Calum Geary intensive post-operative treatment for the last month and with great success.

Electronic implants were inserted in Calum’s brain and then attached to a box in his ear designed to pick up sounds. He was the first Irish child to undergo the operation which took place at Manchester University Hospital in May.

Calum’s family, from Ballyhooly, Co Cork, have just returned from the clinic with some very positive news about his future, because progress after the surgery had been slow.

Calum’s father, Andrew, said the treatment at the American clinic “went beyond all expectations”.

“We have come as a whole family, from a status of a pre-lingual child with no definite signs of hearing, to a much more confident child with the very first signs of hearing.”

He described the course as “exhilarating,” “exhausting,” but “at all times effective”.

Calum, who was born deaf, underwent six hours of therapy each day and enjoyed weekend activities with members of the local deaf community.

Andrew said the family were given the tools to continue his development.

“We will be selling the John Tracy message all across the island of Ireland. We would hope that other Irish families get the same opportunity that we did.

“We would also hope that the donors worldwide who keep this wonderful centre open continue to support this great project,” Andrew said.

He also thanked everybody who helped to raise the €60,000 needed for Calum’s treatment.

Calum will need to return to the John Tracy Clinic on several occasions in the coming years as part of his ongoing care programme.


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