August 19-25th marks Hearing Awareness Week across Australia and 30th anniversary of commercial cochlear implants.
Last Sunday Channel 7 aired another program on Cochlear Implants. The response from viewers to the show last month was so overwhelming they chose to film a follow up program focusing more on children and how CI’s changed their lives. In the show Prof. Graeme Clark, the esteemed inventor of the Cochlear Implant was interviewed and shown video footage of children whose lives he has changed around the world.
Such a humble man. He never thought that his life’s dedication to giving sound to deaf people would result in over 250,000 recipients of the Cochlear Implant and the ability for those people to hear either for the first time or be brought back from a world of silence.
Coincidentally a few weeks ago, Dan decided he wanted to write to Graeme Clark to acknowledge our gratitude for the impact the CI’s have had on Harry. He asked if there might be an opportunity sometime in the future for us all to meet the Professor. A few days ago we received a reply to this letter from Graeme Clark suggesting we contact his team to organise a time as soon as possible. For Dan, this was up there with his dream to meet Keith Richards (but he won’t say that to Professor Clark!!)
Graeme Clark’s work continues today. He has a foundation that assists those who are financially and socially disadvantaged to obtain a cochlear implant. In addition, the Foundation has assumed a broader responsibility to give hearing generally to those with middle ear disease, and in particular indigenous Australians where ear infections are a major problem. The Foundation is also supporting research to achieve high fidelity hearing, acute hearing in noise and musical appreciation with a cochlear implant and/or hearing aid. The pioneering research by Graeme Clark and team has led to the development of a new discipline in medical research, namely Medical Bionics. It will help form the scientific basis for the development of a bionic eye and bionic spinal cord.
It is from his research that scientists were able to create the current neo- natal hearing tests which are catching so many new babies with hearing loss and allowing them access to sound early enough so they are able to enter mainstream schools speaking and hearing along with their peers.
Below is a link to the Foundation’s Website and the TV footage from Sunday night.