Schoolboy Brandon Cliff is receiving loud and clear – after becoming the first child in South Yorkshire to be fitted with a hi-tech hearing aid.
Brandon was born deaf in both ears and has worn a hearing aid since the age of four.
But the traditional devices worn in the ear often caused him to suffer infections, which meant they were unsuitable.
Now he has been given a hearing aid at Sheffield Children’s Hospital which transfers sound using a magnet attached to his skull.
The surgery promises to transform Brandon’s life by dramatically improving the quality of his hearing.
His mum, Georgina, said: “It was such a relief when we were told that Brandon was going to get the hearing aid. It couldn’t have gone any better.
“At the minute he can manage around 10 to 12 words that everyone is able to understand. It will allow him to do so much more at school and allow his language skills to develop.
“He’s part of the school choir, and hopefully one day he will be singing along with songs rather than signing the words.”
Brandon underwent an hour-long operation at the children’s hospital, in which a small titanium fixture and magnet was inserted under the skin in the bone around his ear.
Once recovered, he was fitted with an external sound processor and magnet.
Noises are transmitted as vibrations from the processor through the magnets to the titanium implant, which directs them through the bone to stimulate Brandon’s inner ear.
Wireless technology is also provided which will allow the youngster’s teacher to wear a microphone that streams sound directly to the processor on his head.
Brandon’s dad, Nigel, said: “This new implant is very discreet and he’s just like any other kid in the playground.
“It will give him so much more freedom as he’s no longer restricted to being near the person speaking.”
Prof Jaydip Ray, the consultant ear, nose and throat surgeon who carried out the operation, said: “This device is fantastic for patients like Brandon who can’t wear traditional hearing aids.
“We look forward to offering more children and young people in Sheffield and South Yorkshire the benefits of this implant.”
Just 10 children in the UK have been fitted with the device – a BAHA Attract implant – so far.