Monday 23 October 2017

'Bionic boy' Calum gets ready to hear for first time

Three-year-old Calum Geary with his parents Andrew and Helen.
Three-year-old Calum Geary with his parents Andrew and Helen.
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

A THREE-year-old boy will hear for the first time today when his new computerised hearing system is switched on.

'Bionic boy' Calum Geary has travelled back to the UK where surgeons will switch on the hearing implant that he received on February 28.

Doctors will test the implant today and tomorrow and, if everything goes to plan, Calum will be able to travel to the US for specialist audio-verbal therapy by early autumn.

Calum, from Ballyhooly, Co Cork, has made an impressive recovery from the operation to implant the special 'microchip' device in his head.

Overwhelmed

He is the first Irish child to undergo the so-called 'bionic'-hearing implant.

Without the surgery, Calum, who was born without hearing nerves in his ears, would be deaf and reliant on sign language for life.

His parents, Andrew and Helen, told the Irish Independent they had been totally overwhelmed by public support for Calum's plight since he returned to Ireland from his surgery in Manchester last month.

"It is just beyond words -- we have been totally overwhelmed by the kindness of people. People have been just incredible," Mr Geary told the Irish Independent.

"We are just delighted that Calum is having his implants switched on and hopefully everything will go according to plan."

Calum underwent his surgery in Manchester University Hospital (MUH) in the UK and it is hoped he will to head to California in the US where he will have to undergo extensive audio-verbal therapy sessions at the world- famous John Tracy Clinic.

The little boy, who has a twin brother, Donnacha, was born with a condition known as Cochlear Nerve Aplasia (CNA).

Previously, CNA had meant a child with the condition was left deaf for life.

However, the new implant has been developed at MUH and several US hospitals to offer children born with CNA the hope of hearing.

To date, just 141 children worldwide have undergone the Auditory Brainstem Implant.

Irish Independent

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