UCLH supports national deaf awareness campaign 

29/05/2014 00:00 
The moment a young girl heard the sound of her mother’s voice for the first time was captured for national television at the RNTNEH, as part of National Deaf Awareness Week.

You can view the clip from the programme on BBC Newsround.

Paediatric Audiologist, Anzel Britz, connected up the 11-year-old’s cochlear implants, following implants in both ears last month. She is among more than a 1,000 RNTNEH patients who have benefited from the procedure.

“Can you hear my voice?” asked her mother. Young patient Sula Harding smiled broadly and giggled. “It’s funny!” she said.

During the consultation, Anzel painstakingly adjusted the volume following a series of auditory tests and Sula answered questions using a mixture of sign language, lip reading and sounds from the cochlear implant.

After the filming Anzel told her parents: “It can take some time before the brain fully adjusts to hearing sound for the first time… sometimes voices can sound robotic or as a series of beeps for the first couple of weeks. But sound gradually becomes clearer and you begin to make sense of what you are hearing. It’s not a miracle device but it can really help children enjoy life more fully.

“Sula is a lovely girl – such a marvellous sense of humour and she is determined to make it work.”

A cochlear implant is an electronic device that has two parts.  One part is surgically implanted during an operation that takes about three hours and an electrode is surgically implanted into the cochlear.  The other part, the speech processor, is worn behind the ear and looks rather like a large hearing aid.  Cochlear implants restore a sensation of sound to adults and children.  Implants are suitable for adults and children that have a severe to profound hearing loss in both ears.  Children that are born deaf can benefit from implants if implanted at an early age. 

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