:: Ear implant gives tot chance at normal life – Local News – Waikato Times ::


Ear implant gives tot chance at normal life

James King.jpg
A Hamilton couple who made a big noise about their son’s need for a cochlea implant are happy other deaf people have benefited as well. Reon Suddaby reports.

James King smiles and laughs as he tips a container of lego on to the floor of his parents’ Hamilton home.

It’s typical two-year-old behaviour, but for James just being able to laugh and act like your average everyday boy is a huge accomplishment.

Diagnosed as being profoundly deaf at two days old, James – with his family – went through an agonising wait for a cochlea implant to allow him to hear and learn to speak, like any other child.

Cochlea implants mimic the function of the inner ear by translating sound into electrical impulses which are sent to the brain. They are best put in deaf babies within six to nine months.

In June last year James and his family travelled to Auckland for the four-hour operation and now, nine months later, his mother Robyn King says her son is just like any other boy.

“He’ll sit out there and watch daddy mowing the lawns. He likes getting dirty and wet,” she said.

Medical tests have shown James’ hearing and speaking abilities to be six months ahead of his expected recovery rate.

With his new-found ability to hear, James is particularly fond of his grandmother’s canaries, and living near the hospital, the sound of the rescue helicopter flying overhead attracts his attention.

James gets therapy once a week, and Mrs King said it was still not known if there would be long-term effects on his speech. …

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