Boy Who Heard For 1st Time Due To UNC Doctors Talks

CHAPEL HILL – This summer we told you the story of three-year-old Grayson Clamp, the first child in the U.S. to receive an auditory brain stem implant, and thanks to a team of doctors from UNC, he heard for the first time.

Len Clamp, Grayson’s father, said in the months since the miracle operation, Grayson has begun learning to talk.

“So he’ll point to his ear so that you’ll tell him what he is hearing, which is just really cool! Clamp said. “He does that constantly if he is hearing something for the first time or something is really loud. Everything is really a teaching moment with him now.”

The proud father said that his son has mastered several words: up, bye-bye, no-no and open.

In April, Grayson received the implant as part of a Food and Drug Administration-approved clinical trial at UNC Hospitals.

Grayson, who was adopted by the Clamp family, was born without a cochlear nerve, which transmits sound information from the cochlea to the brain.

Doctors first tried a cochlear implant, but because he was born without the cochlear nerve, it was ineffective, as there was nothing to stimulate. His family then decided to move forward with an auditory brain stem implant, which had been used for adults but hadn’t been tested for use in children in the United States.

“When we really step back from it, that is what this whole thing has been, is something just extraordinary with the technology, the miracle and the platform to share,” Clamp said.

The procedure requires doctors to implant a microchip in a patient’s brain. The microchip then helps the patient recognize and process sound by electrically stimulating the brain stem.

Dr. Craig Buchman, Chief of the Division of Otology/Neurotology and Skull Base Surgery in the UNC School of Medicine; Dr. Matt Ewend, Chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery at UNC; and Dr. Holly Teagle, Program Director for the Carolina Children’s Communicative Disorders Program, were just a few of the many doctors who have helped to give Grayson the ability to hear.

“There are unbelievably supportive,” Clamp said. “They love to see him just as much as he loves to see them.”

The moment that Grayson heard his father say for the first time, “Daddy loves you,” was captured on film this summer and has since been embraced worldwide.

“It sort of brings into full view what we have seen as sort of a faith journey for our family to him getting to the point now of being able to hear and be more engaged in what is going on.”

The Clamp family makes the trek to from their home in Charlotte to Chapel Hill twice a month to work with UNC doctors. Grayson participates in sound recognition and speech therapy exercises, while doctors also tracking his brain activity as he recognizes more sounds.

Clamp explained that his son can now detect sound at a level comparable to a child with a cochlear implant – between 20 and 30 decibels.

They communicate with Grayson in a method that’s called “cue language” by which he indicates that he wants something and his parents ask him to say what he wants.

“It’s still a very slow process,” Clamp said. “We still fully expect that he will develop meaningful speech, or speech that you and I can understand, and that he will be able to recognize speech.”

Clamp said that doctors’ expectations have been conservative because Grayson’s because his case is unprecedented. They estimate it will be 12-15 months before his son can communicate meaningful speech and connect learned hand gestures with word meanings.

“He’s had to climb so many mountains at such a young age, there’s going to be no end to what he will get involved in.”

http://chapelboro.com/news/health/boy-who-who-heard-for-1st-time-due-to-unc-doctors-begins-to-talk/

Dad On Son Hearing For 1st Time; Thanks UNC Med.

Photo Courtesy: UNC Health Care

CHAPEL HILL – The moment when three-year-old Grayson Clamp’s heard for the first time was captured on film and has since been embraced worldwide.  Last month, thanks to a team of doctors from UNC, Grayson heard his father, Len Clamp, say “Daddy loves you,” and both their lives changed forever.

Len Clamp and his wife Nicole adopted Grayson when he was a baby. The family lives in Charlotte; they also have a two-year-old son named Ethan.

Len said was he believes it was God’s plan for them to find Grayson.

“Actually watching just the sheer excitement in his eyes when he heard sound for the first time, and then watching him slowly piece together sound that he is getting and understanding and associating those to real life things has been tremendous.”

To see the video of when Grayson hears for the first time, click here.

Grayson was born with a rare condition that the medical community calls CHARGE, which affects many different areas of a child’s health. Grayson had a severe heart defect at birth, and they believe he cannot see out of his right eye. They don’t know the extent of his vision problems because he can’t communicate yet. Grayson was also born with out a cochlear nerve, which transmits sound information from the cochlea to the brain.

“He was a miracle just to be born,” Len Clamp said. “And then it was also a miracle for us to find him as foster parents when he came along and then ultimately to adopt him. I think we always knew there would be something unique in store.”

Doctors first tried a cochlear implant, but because he was born without the cochlear nerve, it was ineffective, as there was nothing to stimulate. His family then decided to move forward with the auditory brain stem implant, which had been used for adults, but hadn’t been tested for use in children in the United States.

The procedure requires doctors to implant a microchip in a patient’s brain. The microchip then helps the patient recognize and process sound by electrically stimulating the brain stem.

Dr. Craig Buchman, Chief of the Division of Otology/Neurotology and Skull Base Surgery in the UNC School of Medicine; Dr. Matt Ewend, Chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery at UNC; and Dr. Holly Teagle, Program Director for the Carolina Children’s Communicative Disorders Program, were just a few of the many doctors who have helped to give Grayson the ability to hear.

“There are no amounts of thank you’s that can be given. They are phenomenal surgeons, but they are really just phenomenal people,” Len Clamp said. “They very much have a genuine concern for the well-being of their patients. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten on the phone with them at all hours, day and night. They make us feel like we are the only patient in the hospital.”

As Grayson is beginning to understand sound, Ethan is beginning to babble. Len says it’s great to see both of his sons expressing themselves, in their own unique ways.

“Hearing him in the back of the car make sounds and point at things is great. If he’s working with one the therapists or we’re reading a book to him, he’s now trying to mimic sound,” he said.

Grayson will continue to work with UNC Hospitals for hearing and speech therapy.

http://chapelboro.com/news/health/dad-talks-about-son-hearing-for-1st-time-thanks-unc-doctors/

UNC Doctors Help 3-Year-Old Hear For The 1st Time

Pictured: Grayson Clamp hears for the first time (Courtesy UNC Health Care)

CHAPEL HILL – Three-year-old Grayson Clamp heard sound for the first time in his life three weeks ago thanks to a team of UNC doctors. Grayson’s miraculous story is now being reported worldwide, with CNN, the Today Show, and the Daily Mail in the United Kingdom, sharing his triumph.

Dr. Craig Buchman, Chief of the Division of Otology/Neurotology and Skull Base Surgery in the UNC School of Medicine, headed up the ground-breaking procedure.

“Many years ago, it became apparent that this device might be helpful for children with this particular problem. It’s been a culmination of a lot of years of working towards trying to do this for a limited number of children who are candidates,” Buchman said.

Dr. Buchman was in the room when Grayson was able to hear for the first time.

“We’re ecstatic that he’s doing well, that the parents are happy, and we just couldn’t feel better about the whole thing,” Buchman said.

To see the video of when Grayson hears for the first time, click here.

Grayson was born without a cochlear nerve, which transmits sound information from the cochlea to the brain. After Len and Nicole Clamp adopted Grayson, they began working with UNC doctors to help him hear. Doctors first tried a cochlear implant, but because he was born without the cochlear nerve, it was ineffective, as there was nothing to stimulate.

The family then decided to move forward with the auditory brain stem implant, which had been used for adults, but hadn’t been tested for use in children in the United States.

The procedure requires doctors to implant a microchip in a patient’s brain. The microchip then helps the patient recognize and process sound by electrically stimulating the brain stem.

“And so the frequencies are allocated to the individual electrodes, and the brain is left to sort out those details,” Buchman said.

Grayson will continue to work on recognizing and understanding speech. Doctors say he already showing signs of improvement.

http://chapelboro.com/news/health/unc-doctors-help-3-year-old-hear-for-the-first-time/