Meet the two schoolgirls who became first in South Yorkshire to have new hearing implant
That was December last year and nine months on, the girls are starting their first full school year with the implant in place.
Ten-year-old Hollie, of Matlock, Derbyshire was referred to Sheffield for specialist treatment by her local hospital in Chesterfield. She is deaf in her right ear and has unilateral profound sensory hearing loss.
Her mum Lori says: "Before, Hollie would have to sit near the front of the class so she could hear what the teacher was saying. With her speech, she wouldn’t always understand words she was hearing so then sometimes she’d say something different. She’s hearing and understanding words a lot better now so she can understand her teacher more.”
Eight-year-old Asha has been attending the hearing services team at Sheffield for care since she was just two, travelling in from Barnsley with her mum Eva.
Asha has unilateral right sided profound hearing loss. She is reliant on the hearing in the left ear to process sound. Locating sounds can be difficult and hearing when there’s background noise can sometimes be a challenge.
Eva says: “We had looked at lots of options and COVID has slowed the process down but it has been so worth the wait. Asha already feels more grown up to me...She’s more her and that makes every day a little bit easier.”
Traditional hearing aids aren’t always effective for different hearing conditions and the hearing services and surgery teams worked with Lori and Eva to go through the best options available. Both families decided that the Bonebridge procedure was the one they wanted.
In December last year, the girls underwent their procedures, going under general anaesthetic for the couple of hours it took for the implants to be placed under the skin by their ear.
This procedure had been performed on adults before, but it was the first time in South Yorkshire that it was carried out on a paediatric patient.
With usual hearing, sound vibrations are sent through the outer and middle parts of the ear, and on to the inner ear. In Asha and Holly’s case, sounds that would normally reach the right ear are now received by a processor and then transmitted via the implant through the natural vibration of the skull to the better hearing left ear.
The hearing team will continue to work with the girls, providing long term support until the age of 16.
Suzanne Carrick, head of hearing services at Sheffield Children’s says: “One of the big positives is that this procedure leaves the skin intact, which can be cosmetically more acceptable for some patients – and they can still go swimming with their processor if they wish.”