Scottish Cochlear Implant Program (02:55)
Half a million profoundly deaf people have had their hearing restored with cochlear implants. The team at Crosshouse Hospital in Kilmarnock has implanted 1400 patients— only a fraction of those who need it, according to surgeons Mary Shanks and Peter Wardrop.
Craig's Story (03:32)
Fifty thousand people in Scotland are deaf but only 100 get cochlear implants per year. Craig Amsley, age-75, was surprised to hear he qualified. Most patients at Crosshouse lost their hearing progressively; being unable to communicate with his grandchildren has been frustrating for Craig.
Cochlear Impant Surgery (04:18)
Craig is at Crosshouse Hospital for his operation. The process damages cochlear hairs irreversibly; patients lose natural hearing. The surgeon drills through the skull to reach the inner ear. A clinical physicist tests electrodes before Craig's scalp is closed. The implant will be switched on in four weeks.
Mark's Story (02:44)
Mark Pickton, 48, lost his hearing in a year. Going deaf has negatively impacted his social and working life, including his job, which involves power tools. Many Crosshouse patients have to stop working. He struggles with depression.
Rona's Story (05:05)
Adults receive one cochlear implant, while young people receive two to have full hearing value throughout their lives. Rona, age-16, had one ear implanted a year ago and prepares for the other. She was a competitive choir singer before going deaf at 13; her mother hopes she will sing again.
Craig's Switch On (04:17)
Craig returns to Crosshouse Hospital to activate his cochlear implant. Because he has been deaf for a long time, regaining hearing will take time. A clinical physicist maps electrodes and gradually increases volume to give his brain time to adjust; he reports hearing a cacophony of sounds.
Mark's Switch On (03:18)
Every cochlear implant recipient is treated as a unique case at Crosshouse Hospital. Jo gradually activates Mark's electrodes; he reports hearing again but says everything sounds different from before he went deaf.
Rona's Switch On (03:11)
Having two cochlear implants helps patients adjust to background noise and localize sounds. Rona suffers tinnitus that interferes with her implants. As a clinical physicist activates her electrodes, she struggles to get feedback. Her brain has to relearn to hear in both ears.
Fraser's Story (03:34)
Many children born deaf have additional disabilities. Fraser, 8, was infected with a virus in the womb that damaged his brain. The Crosshouse Hospital team was uncertain whether he would be able to process sounds from cochlear implants. His problem solving skills convinced them to try.
Jack's Story (03:53)
Jack, age-11, is assessed for cochlear implants. He was born deaf; his parents and siblings all have Pendred syndrome. Children should get implants when they would normally be acquiring spoken language. He must prove his brain has developed neural pathways to hear and interpret speech.
Chris's Story (03:32)
Jack undergoes auditory electrode and speech perception tests as part of a cochlear implant assessment. His friend Chris already has implants; his mother discusses the long hearing and speech rehabilitation process with Jack's mother.
Fraser's Switch On (04:00)
Fraser's learning difficulties made it challenging for him to acquire speech and hearing with cochlear implants. Rehabilitation specialist Jane Gallacher assesses his progress; the implants have improved his ability to concentrate during sessions and his language skills have accelerated.
Raising Awareness of Deafness (03:00)
The National Deaf Children's Society aims to visit every British school with a deaf pupil. Jamie Chivers teaches Rona's schoolmates about the challenges of being deaf. He advises her to stay confident and she will achieve more in life.
Hearing Technology (03:14)
A month after her second switch on, Rona has a follow up appointment at Crosshouse Hospital. Cochlear implants need constant updating; patients must come in often for reprogramming. Craig can talk with his grandchildren again, but it will take a year for his hearing to normalize.
Regaining Hearing (02:58)
Mark's cochlear implant enables him to hear sounds around his home again and communicate with his boss at work. It has saved his job and his mental health.
A Shared Experience (02:19)
Rona has befriended Kate, another teenager with cochlear implants, on social media. They meet in person and their mothers compare notes.
Meeting Heroes (02:39)
Now able to listen to music, Rona attends a One Direction concert in Glasgow. The band hears about her story and invites her backstage. Her mother says cochlear implants have helped her to regain confidence. She plans to attend university.
Credits: Suddenly I Hear You (00:46)
Credits: Suddenly I Hear You
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