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Saturday, March 22, 2008

InSkull Implant Ends Five Years Of Silence For Child

Kieran Jennings is five years old but as of this week he is hearing sounds for the first time in his life.

The plucky little guy was born deaf and had to use sign language to communicate with others. Now a special implant has been put into his skull and ear so he can join his brothers and sister and listen watch his favorite TV shows.

The results of the brain-ear implant have amazed his parents Tracy and Gary Thompson who are now looking forward to the day their little boy can say “mom” and “dad”.

Last month, Kieran underwent three hours of surgery to have a cochlear implant at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital. It is a small electronic device which provides the brain with electrical signals, giving the sensation of sound.

The implants replace the hairs in the inner ear that have been damaged. They are connected to a receiver, which is implanted into the skull behind the ear.

Dad Garry Jennings, 28, said: “They turned the implant on and they were tuning it. Kieran kept looking around as he was suddenly hearing things. Every time the technician changed the vibrations he was making a little noise.

After the operation Kieran had to wait a month until the implant could be turned on. The Doctors turned it on and Kieran started hearing his first sounds.

The Doctors said, he will have to wait for about six months until he can hear fully because his brain will have to learn to accept sounds.

Kieran has to carry a card with him, if he goes into a store, he can set the alarms off. And he has to switch it off when he is flying, at take-off and landing.”

This is a wonderful technology it looks like in the next decade we could have blindness and deafness both beat.