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Damian Quinn’s Mom Journey

June 9th, 2011 by | Tags: , | Comments Off

Damian Quinn’s mom was generous to take time to write a story about her son’s journey from going deaf to hearing again with cochlear implants.  Damian was one of the first children in the world to receive a cochlear implant in 1987 as part of the clinical trials in Australia.

Damian's Activation in 1987

At Easter time in 1978, all of the children living at home had mumps including Damian who was not quite 7½ years old at the time.  By Good Friday he told me that he couldn’t hear so I was shocked and devastated.  Not knowing that people could lose their hearing from mumps, I was a bit doubtful but I know now that it is quite prevalent.  The visit to Dr. Miller at Burra was fruitless as he suggested that couldn’t happen and that Damian was “making out” that he couldn’t hear.  I had to try and get a second opinion and we took Damian to see people at the National Acoustics Laboratory and Hearing Centre in King William Street, Adelaide on the 18th of April.  They assured me that it was true and followed it up by getting an appointment with Dr. John Rice, an ENT at North Terrace, Hackney and he did an audiogram which proved that Damian’s hearing was almost non-existent and recommended he have twin hearing aids.  These were of very little use and we took Damian back to Dr. Rice in July and he wasn’t very helpful as they were the strongest available.

Going to school was a trial for Damian as although he had a brilliant mind and was learning to lip read many people well, he was still finding it very frustrating not being able to follow what the teachers were saying all the time.  It wasn’t until having had to endure the years remaining at school that I heard about the work of Dr. (Prof) Graham Clarke and the Cochlear Implant being done in Melbourne and found out that it was going to be done in Adelaide in the near future and by December 1986 Damian went to Flinders Medical Centre and met Dr. Dean Beaumont who was starting to perform the operation there on profoundly deaf people.  In July 1987 (the 28th) Damian had his implant and came through the operation very well and was ready to come home on the 5th day afterwards and was ready to be switched on by the 20th August.

This day was a momentous occasion for Damian and for us too as he could hear again after 8 years of living in silence.  All 20 channels of the implant worked and Damian was interviewed by the people from Channel 7’s State Affair and a film was made of the occasion.  One thing I remember clearly was that when asked what he wanted to hear, his answer was “my dog George, I want to hear him bark”.  I guess that was good, but being his mother I perhaps had hoped he might have wanted to hear my voice saying “I love you Damian”!  The next day Damian worked with the Audiologists at FMC, Keith Chiveralls and Vikki Tselepis and had the implant programmed and all went well.  The State Affair programme on Damian’s successful implant was shown on Monday 24th August with Greg Myer and Jeremy Cordeaux and came over very well.

Damian’s life turned around very much as he gradually got used to “hearing” again and with the audiology appointments to upgrade it regularly he got to know other people with implants and coped with it all excellently.  My prayers were answered – Damian could hear again, so that was wonderful.

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