Out of Ireland, Our New Ears is a wonderful charity based organization in conjunction with Deafhear. This charity is for parents of deaf children with Cochlear Implants.
A Cochlear Implant is a device that helps deaf people hear to varying degrees. Some deaf people can hear again and are able to develop their speech perfectly while others may get a sense of some or all sounds.
For children with the device, they can respond to sounds and engage with people verbally. It can open up new doors for both a child with a cochlear implant device and their families.
Below is a short but touching video of what Our New Ears is doing for children with Cochlear Implants and their families:
In 2013, Our New Ears along with Deafhear, fought the Happy New EAR campaign and made it all the way to the Dail in Ireland. What they wanted was simple: funding for cochlear implants so the financial burden does not weigh solely on the parent.
Currently in Ireland, one in every one thousand children are diagnosed with hearing loss. Half of these children are born to hearing parents that have no genetic history of healing loss. The average child is diagnosed with hearing loss in Ireland at 30 months. That is at two and a half years old! If parents were confident that they had a hearing impaired child earlier, they could teach the child about deaf culture or see them if they are candidates for a Cochlear Implant. Our New Ears is asking for Infant Screening so children can be diagnosed earlier.
Lorraine Murphy is Chairperson of Our New Ears and she has been kind enough to sum up this wonderful charity in her own words. Let’s all see how we can help out this wonderful organization:
Our New Ears is an organisation for parents of deaf children with cochlear implants, ran by parents of deaf children, in Ireland.
Our aim is to educate, empower, support and listen to the parents in our organisation.
Okay, that’s the blurb. In reality we are mostly an online group of elated, fearful, inquisitive, bragging, bashful, worried and proud parents (actually that can be just one parent in one day!).
What makes us different is that we get it. We know that the statistics like “ 1 in every thousand babies are born with a hearing loss” mean nothing when the only baby that matters is in your arms. 90% of babies with hearing loss are born to hearing parents, and these parents are often unprepared and therefore overwhelmed by the news.
We also know how it feels to have a deaf child say I love you, to have a disappointing or fantastic speech assessment, to marvel at a Cochlear implant being used under water, and to think about our children’s futures, like, ALL of the time!
We are 100% voluntary, under the umbrella of DeafHear, and have grown rapidly from 10 members in 2012 to over 260 members today.
Cochlear Implants are surgically implanted devices that allow profoundly deaf people to hear. While they are simply remarkable in their design, the recipient requires a lot of rehabilitation, knowledge and support. That’s where we come in.
Advocating for our children and raising awareness of the magic and work Cochlear Implants bring to small lives, we provide training, online support, information and social events to our members . We have welcomed World leading speakers to Ireland including The Ear Foundation, Carol Flexer, and the Californian based John Tracy Clinic are due to arrive this November. We believe that there is no limits to our children’s abilities.
We punch above our weight, having changed Government policy in 2013 through the Happy New Ear Campaign, to provide two cochlear implants instead of one for all deaf children. We have a lot more work to do, and are working on changing policy again!
This Autumn, for the first time, specially trained therapists will provide six months training to speech and language therapists and audiologists from all over Ireland in an initiative by Our New Ears. This will have huge implications for deaf children, allowing them to access appropriate therapy in their locality, meaning they will have the very best chance of developing spoken language in the best hands.
People ask us where we get the energy and the answer is simple. Look at your child. Think how you would feel if you knew, you knew, that they were not getting the best chance in life. Then ask yourself if you could change it, would you?
We already know the answer.
Registered Charity Number 10529