Special device helps deaf 3-year-old boy hear for first time

June 20, 2013 6:50:25 PM PDT
A 3-year-old boy who was born deaf is hearing for the first time, thanks to a special device called an auditory brainstem implant.

Grayson Clamp was born without the auditory nerves that carry sound from the inner ear to the brain. He was initially fitted with a cochlear implant but, without nerves, it was ineffective.

So doctors at the University of North Carolina's School of Medicine gave him an auditory brainstem implant.

Here's the moment Grayson heard his dad's voice for the first time.

Doctor: "Hi Grayson. Talk to him, daddy."
Dad: "Daddy loves you, daddy loves you."
Doctor: "He can hear!"
Dad: "Can you hear daddy?"

The device is typically used in adults whose nerves have been damaged. It hadn't yet been approved for use in children. But that changed, thanks to an FDA approved trial. Grayson became the first child in the country to undergo the procedure.

Doctors are confident Grayson will eventually hear and speak like any other child.

His parents say he's already made great progress and they will never forget what that first moment was like.


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