Dundalk parents, who have been campaigning for double cochlear implants for deaf children, say that they are running out of time before nerves in their children’s ear die, leading to deafness that cannot be restored.
Deanna Cairns, Denis McShane and Alison McFadden, mothers of Billy (4), Erin (2) and Taylor (2) say that the national campaign is making good ground, but the government need to act fast.
“We are moving in the right direction,” said Billy’s mum, Deanna, “But we need to keep the campaign going. These children are running out of time. Especially the children that are older.
“If the nerves in the ear are not stimulated, then they die. The older a child gets, the more likely the nerves will die.
“If an operation existed for a blind person to fix his eyes, would they only operate on one eye,” said Deanna.
Although having only one implant, Billy is now able to hear distorted sounds.
“It was a great feeling knowing that Billy could hear,” said Deanna, recalling the first moment when the implant was switched on, “But children need the second implant. They lose concentration easier with one implant.”
Erin’s mum, Denise, told The Democrat “A profoundly deaf child lives in a silent and isolated world and teaching the most basic things to them is difficult because of the obvious communication problems when a child can’t hear.
“Erin is extremely bright and a very intelligent little girl. Her only setback is her hearing. One Cochlear Implant is amazing and Erin has recently started to say mama at 2 years old.
“I had to wait longer than most people to hear it but I feared I would never hear those words.
“I think Erin like every child deserves every possible chance to reach her full potential and lack of money should not be the reason this is not possible.”
Alison McFadden, who is from Dundalk but now living in Donegal, is fighting for the second cochlear implant for her daughter Taylor
“It was extremely emotional for us when Taylor got her first implant,” said Alison, “We only realised that our little baby has never heard us tell her how much we love her.
“Taylor has come on a lot since the first implant, but it would be quicker with a second implant. By 5pm her little brain is wrecked from taking so much in,” Alison added.
You can sign the petition for double cochlear implants by logging onto www.thepetitionsite.com and search for “Happy New Ear.” You can also find the group on Facebook.