DeafHear Regional News

Regional News

Calum Geary Update August 2012:

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

DeafHear is delighted to hear that Calum Geary from Cork and his family have had a successful trip to America.

The following press release provides details of their recent visit to the John Tracy Clinic in California:

We have just returned from out course and travels to the John Tracy Clinic. Our family first became aware of the John Tracy Clinic in October 2011. This was through another family who were part of the programme at JTC. We also heard of the JTC through our local deaf association, the Cork Deaf Association who had a guest speaker who also worked at JTC. It was our goal since that date to attend at the summer session. The website was a great introduction to the philosophy and teaching at JTC. Thanks to all the donations and prayers for Calum, this dream became a reality for the family in July this year.The course was exhilarating and exhausting, at times very technical however at all times effective. There were six hours of class each day, there were also activities organised at the weekend to meet with members of the local deaf community at a picnic. Calum was in class with his peers and a SLT Teacher who specialised in working with children with hearing difficulties. Calum’s brothers attended classes at the sibling programme. The classes for the parents covered every angle from the technical to the emotional.

The support we got to prepare from the staff at JTC was great. The course however 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. Our whole family now have the tools to continue his development. The information will also greatly aid the family in dealing with all the experts we encounter. The staff are amazing in everything they do, the way they communicate to the learning methods are all so focused. We hope that the great work that take place here can continue to help families such as ours who are looking for the best for their child. The experience was added to by the other families and the great visiting speakers. This centre is truly pioneering in every facet. The family support groups were a great source of light for us personally. The highlight was the children, seeing them grow each day was amazing. The guest speakers included children who have experienced the work of the centre in their lives and graduates of college and university who attended the course as little children.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 world wide who keep this wonderful centre open continue to support this great project. We would also urge all the Universities with Speech & Language courses and graduates of Speech & Language to consider the great under and post graduate programmes on offer at the John Tracy Clinic. We as a family would love to see Irish students studying at this great centre. We would strongly urge any parent of a severe or profoundly deaf child who is not yet at school to consider the distance learning course or applying to attend the summer session as we did. There were children of all levels of deafness present from, hearing aids to cochlear implants, there was also a diverse range of lingual ability from prelingual such as Calum to children who needed to focus on the deeper intricacies of speech production.

We feel the greatest message that came from the John Tracy Clinic was the power of the child's family to influence the success of their child. We feel empowered by the whole experience.

On behalf of Calum, we his parents Helen & Andrew, Thank You to all those who made this possible from the Geary Family.

Calum Geary Update June 2012: €60k raised to send boy with bionic ear to US

By Sean O’Riordan
Thursday, June 21, 2012

The family of the first Irish child to get a bionic ear are preparing to take him to a leading US clinic for specialist aftercare.

The good news comes after fundraisers collected the €60,000 needed to pay for his treatment.

Calum Geary, aged three-and-a-half and from Ballyhooly, Co Cork, will fly out to the John Treacy Clinic in Los Angeles on Jul 2 where he will undergo a month of intensive audio/verbal therapy.

Calum was born deaf, but, thanks to pioneering technology, recently underwent ABI (Auditory Brainstem Implants) at Manchester University Hospital.

The operation involved inserting 21 electrodes in to his brain and attaching them to a small box in his ear.

Irish Examiner, Thursday, June 21, 2012. By Sean O’Riordan
(Source link to story)

DeafHear extends its best wishes to little Calum Geary from Cork who is progressing well with his new ‘bionic’ hearing implant and will soon have access to sound.

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

By Ralph Riegel
Wednesday May 02 2012

Three-year-old Calum Geary with his parents Andrew and Helen.
Three–year–old Calum Geary (right)
with his twin brother Donnacha in Cork yesterday

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.


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.

– Ralph Riegel

Irish Independent, Wednesday May 02 2012. By Ralph Riegel
(Source link to story)

The following good news story appeared in the Irish Independent on Feb 3rd.
A young boy from Co. Cork was born profoundly deaf due to a rare condition called Cochlear Nerve Aplasia. He is due to have a pioneering operation in Manchester at the end of February, an Auditory Brainstem Implant procedure, which is hoped will give him a good level of hearing in the future.

DeafHear extends Calum and his family every good wish for his upcoming trip to Manchester.

LITTLE Calum Geary (3) is set to become Ireland's first boy with a bionic ear.

Three-year-old Calum Geary (right)
with his twin brother Donnacha in Cork yesterday

Calum -- the son of Andrew and Helen Geary -- was born in November 2008 but last year was diagnosed as having profound hearing problems.

It was discovered that Calum -- who has a twin brother, Donnacha -- was born without any hearing nerves in his ears.

The condition, known as Cochlear Nerve Aplasia (CNA), traditionally means a child is deaf and will have to rely on sign language to communicate.

However, Calum´s parents researched the condition and discovered a revolutionary new ´bionic´ implant has been developed to offer children born with CNA the hope of hearing.

Now, the little Cork boy will become the first Irish child to undergo the pioneering Auditory Brainstem Implant (ABI) procedure. To date, just 140 children worldwide have undergone the implant.

The procedure at Manchester University Hospital (MUH) will effectively see Calum receive a ´bionic´ or electronic implant which will link his ear to his brainstem and offer him near-normal hearing.


“The device basically replicates the ear and nerves and will connect directly to the brain stem, ” Andrew told the Irish Independent.

“No-one really understands exactly how or why it works -- but the procedure has worked for other children and given them a crucial level of hearing.”

Andrew, a west Waterford-based garda, admitted they were thrilled when Calum was selected for the procedure.

Calum´s surgery is planned for February 28 and the entire Geary family will then have to stay in Manchester for four to six weeks.

The boy will then require regular visits back to Manchester for updated programming of the bionic implant over the course of the next three years.

“We are not expecting a miracle, however, as a family we do not want to be found wanting when it comes to determination and effort,” Andrew explained.

“After all we only have to look at Calum to see what determination is all about. We know the window for speech acquisition is closing rapidly and so we must act fast,” he added.

Calum´s two older brothers -- Barry (8) and Matthew (6) -- have been learning sign language in a bid to support him.

The Gearys also hope to bring Calum to the John Tracy Clinic in California, which is a world-leading centre for audio-verbal therapy.

The family yesterday launched the Calum Geary Appeal to help defray some of the costs they face in getting their son the treatment he needs.

Information is available from or and donations can be made to the Calum Geary Trust, Ulster Bank, Fermoy, Co Cork, sort code 98-57-25, account number 10516017.

Irish Independent, Friday February 03 2012. By Ralph Riegel
(Source link to story)




more...Hearing loss costs an estimated €2.2bn every year in Ireland.


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