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Cochlear implants give Stamford boy Jack the ‘best of both worlds’

Adrian Fisher and Amy Casseldon, from Stamford, with their son Jack Fisher, four. Jack was born profoundly deaf but can now has the sensation of sound thanks to cochlear implants. Photo: MSMP080814-001am. EMN-140808-160400001

Adrian Fisher and Amy Casseldon, from Stamford, with their son Jack Fisher, four. Jack was born profoundly deaf but can now has the sensation of sound thanks to cochlear implants. Photo: MSMP080814-001am. EMN-140808-160400001

A boy who was born profoundly deaf is looking forward to starting school on an “even keel” thanks to his cochlear implants.

Jack Fisher, four, from Stamford, was fitted with the technology when he was just 10 months old.

While the implants do not mean he can hear in the way others do, they do give him the “sensation of sound”.

As a result, he was able to learn to speak without issues and can communicate perfectly.

Jack is due to start in reception at Malcolm Sargent Primary School in September.

His parents Adrian Fisher and Amy Casseldon have no regrets about getting their son fitted with cochlear implants.

“We knew that going though with implants couldn’t hurt him,” said Amy. “We wouldn’t be taking anything away. It was a choice that we decided we should take.

“And my God, was it the best one.”

Cochlear implants comprise a internal receiver, surgically placed behind the ear, with an external microphone and speech processor.

Jack’s implants were funded on the NHS. But they were initially championed by the Ear Foundation, a charity set up in 1989 to fund the technology and demonstrate its benefit in children. There is much debate in the deaf community about the ethics of giving cochlear implants to children at a young age, with some saying people should be left to choose when they are older.

Amy’s brother is deaf and she knows sign language through her work as a teaching assistant. She and husband Adrian are fully aware of both sides of the argument around implants. But they are happy with the decision they made for Jack.

“We have given him the best of both worlds,” said Amy. “He has got a much better chance to be able to do anything he wants.

“By giving him implants he will be able to talk on the phone, he can do a job like anyone else. But I believe it’s very important to keep his deaf culture as well.

Jack is learning sign language, which he uses when he goes swimming and has to take his implants out.

Jack is fully aware of his own condition and even has the advantage of “turning off” his implants if he hears a sound he doesn’t like, such as a hand dryer.

Jack is very talkative for a four-year-old and if asked will spend hours telling you about his favourite things, including his love of trains.

His parents are looking forward to seeing him speak with his new classmates in September.

Dad Adrian, a mortgage consultant, said Jack’s progress highlighted the aims of the Ear Foundation when it was set up 25 years ago.

He added: “Jack has abilities to match his hearing peers which allow him to enter mainstream schooling on an even keel.”

 

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