A young Irish boy is recuperating at home in Cork – after a bionic ear operation in Manchester.
Calum Geary, just three years of age, made history when he travelled to Britain for the revolutionary surgery.
He will undergo therapy at the John Tracy clinic in the United States once he has recovered from the operation last month.
Surgeons implanted a special ‘microchip’ device in his head, aimed at transferring sound messages from his ears to his brain.
Born without hearing nerves in his ears, Calum is the first Irish child to undergo the bionic hearing implant surgery. Calum and his non-identical twin brother Donnacha were born on 19 November 2008.
Calum underwent the surgery in Manchester. He was born with a condition known as Cochlear Nerve Aplasia (CNA) which previously meant a child was left deaf for life.
“On one day, an officer from Great Manchester Police arrived at the hospital with a special letter of commendation for Calum because of his bravery,” revealed dad Andrew.
Mum Helen said: “We have been absolutely floating on the amount of love and kindness shown to us.
Just 141 children worldwide have benefitted from the Auditory Brainstem Implant technique.
“The device basically replicates the ear and nerves and will connect directly to the brainstem,” said dad Andrew.
“No one really understands exactly how or why it works but the procedure has worked for other children and given them a crucial level of hearing.”
Parents Andrew and Helen Geary were delighted with the welcome they received from family and friends when they arrived home to Ballyhooly in North Cork on Tuesday.
“It is just beyond words - we have been totally overwhelmed by the kindness of people. People have been just incredible,” Andrew told the Irish Independent.