A 3-year-old deaf boy heard his father for the first time this month thanks to an auditory brain stem implant.
Grayson Clamp was born completely deaf but his parents Len and Nicole Clamp dreamed of a day when their little boy would be able to hear again. His parents tried to give Grayson, who was born without cochlear nerves, a cochlear implant but the procedure didn’t restore the boy’s hearing.
CBS reports that Grayson was then enrolled in a research trial at University of North Carolina Hospitals and earlier this month the little boy was able to hear his dad’s voice for the first time.
Nicole Clamp said: “He likes sound … He enjoys the stimulus, the input. He’s curious, and he definitely enjoys it.”
Clamp is the first child in the United States to receive an auditory brain stem transplant. The procedure uses a microchip on the brain stem which allows sound to bypass the cochlear nerves. The procedure has been done on adults before but Dr. Craig Buchman, Grayson’s surgeon, said that he is excited to see the procedure benefit a child for the first time.
Buchman said: “One of the reasons we really were interested in this study, children have enormous potential because of their brain plasticity. They have enormous potential to interpret sounds…. I don’t know what he hears and how he’s going to use it, but only time will tell.”
The 3-year-old deaf boy can now hear the sound of his dad and mom’s voices but Nicole and Len Clamp still aren’t sure exactly what Grayson is hearing.
Nicole said: “We don’t know exactly what it’s like for him. We don’t know exactly what he hears. His brain is still trying organize itself to use sound.”