THE family of a schoolboy whose life was transformed following cochlear implant surgery are raising funds to say ‘thank you’.
Swain House Primary School pupil Binyaameen Ali had the devices surgically implanted in both ears aged two at Bradford Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust’s (BTHFT) Listening for Life Centre.
Three years on Binyaameen, now five, is a happy, bright schoolboy on a par with his peers.
As a way of showing their gratitude, Binyaameen’s parents, Muhammad and Renu Ali, of Bradford, have started fundraising to raise £3,000 for the Listening for Life Centre’s Cone Beam Scanner Appeal – and personally donated the first £100.
The quest is now on to raise the £190,000 needed to buy a cone beam scanner, which will be used to scan the ears of patients and identify the best possible position for a cochlear implant’s electrodes. Cutting-edge cone beam scanners provide significantly more accurate results than standard CT scanners and create less irradiation.
Mr Ali, an Islamic Consultant, said: “Having cochlear implants fitted has been life-changing for Binyaameen. His hearing deteriorated from birth, but thanks to the cochlear implants he is able to hear and speak very well.
“If he had not had the cochlear implants he would be communicating via sign language. Hearing and speech are linked and thanks to the cochlear implants, his continuous use of the external processors and the great speech and language therapy he’s received, his speech and comprehension is improving on a daily basis.
“The support, help and guidance we have received from the whole team at the Listening for Life Centre has been amazing. In line with our Islamic teaching of ‘Like for others what you like for yourself’, we just want to show our appreciation and help others benefit, like we have.”
Binyaameen failed his newborn hearing screening and was referred to the ENT team at Bradford Royal Infirmary, part of BTHFT. Initially, he was given one hearing aid as his right ear was fine, but after further testing audiologists discovered the hearing in this ear was deteriorating too, which led to him wearing hearing aids on both sides.
Soon after, however, Binyaameen was found to have enlarged vestibular aqueducts in both ears, and was referred to Professor Chris Raine MBE, a Consultant ENT Surgeon at BTHFT, to discuss having cochlear implants fitted.
Mr Ali said: “Because things kept changing it was more difficult. At one moment Binyaameen had one hearing aid, then two and then even they were no good for him. We were constantly reviewing where we were.
“Discovering he could have cochlear implants was a big relief. We were fairly anxious about whether he could have them, but then Professor Raine said they were made for kids like him. We were really grateful.”
Binyaameen had cochlear implants fitted in both ears at BRI in 2016.
“We were a bit anxious regarding the operation but we had to look at the long term,” said Mr Ali. “The implants were switched on a month after the op and within about three months they were fully operational.
“Binyaameen wears them during all waking hours. We don’t see not wearing them as an option.
“He goes out and meets people, talks to everyone, loves cars and is learning Arabic too! He also attends weekly football training and swimming lessons. During his swimming lessons he uses an aqua kit which allows him to hear whilst in the pool.
“His confidence comes from the ability to speak which, of course, is connected to the ability to hear. The cochlear implants don’t stop him from doing anything – they are there to enable him to live a normal life.
“We recently went to his parents’ evening at school and were told he is performing at the same level as his peers, who are fully hearing. He is often recognised for outstanding work too.
“People think cochlear implants are restricting, but Binyaameen is developing well and thriving and there is nothing holding him back. We are very proud of him.”
Mr Ali and his wife Renu, a Paediatric Diabetes Clinical Nurse Specialist at BTHFT, have now set up a JustGiving page to raise funds for the Cone Beam Scanner Appeal via the Ear Trust, which funded the Listening for Life Centre and supports its work.
“We are very grateful to the whole team at the centre, including Professor Raine, audiological scientists, speech and language therapists and the technical unit, and we’d like to raise awareness of the amazing job they and cochlear implants do. We’d like other children to benefit from the same great care that Binyaameen has had.”
Liz Hamilton, Principal Speech and Language Therapist at the Listening for Life Centre’s Yorkshire Auditory Implant Service (YAIS), said: “Binyaameen has made great progress with his speech and language skills since he was implanted.
“His parents have worked hard to support him to achieve his full potential. It has been a rewarding experience to work so closely with the family to help them support their son.
“YAIS are extremely grateful to Binyaameen’s family for their support in fundraising for Professor Raine’s Cone Beam Scanner Appeal. This will be a tremendous benefit to the hospital and many other patients in the future.”
The hi-tech £2.8million Listening for Life Centre, based in the grounds of BRI, is currently the only centre of its kind in Yorkshire, and one of only a handful throughout the UK.
Over the past 10 years it has become the home of cochlear implant technology in the north of England, which transforms the lives of patients with profound deafness.
During cochlear implant surgery, the surgeon places electrodes into the cochlea (the sense organ that translates sound into nerve impulses to be sent to the brain) and an electronic device called the receiver under the skin behind the ear, securing it to the skull. The implants are then able to send a signal to the auditory nerve, giving patients the sensation of sound and the gift of hearing.
To make a donation to the Ali family’s JustGiving page, please visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/muhammad-ali17
Facts and figures
- Since the service’s inception in 1990, more than 1,300 people have received in excess of 2,000 implants at BRI and the Listening for Life Centre
- Patients now come from across the north of England and as far away as the Isle of Man
- The service has more than 25 employees including surgeons, audiologists, speech therapists, teachers of the deaf, technicians and interpreters, who are supported by an administration team
- The youngest child to be implanted was six months old
- Surgeons made history in 2015 by performing the first cochlear implant under local anaesthetic on a pregnant patient in the UK. As a result patient Kimberly Ward was able to hear her unborn baby’s heartbeat for the first time
- In the same year, the team carried out cochlear implant surgery on the region’s oldest ever patient, who was 93, restoring his hearing after 30 years of profound hearing loss.
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- Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust:
Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is responsible for providing hospital services for the people of Bradford and communities across Yorkshire. We serve a core population of around 500,000 and provide specialist services for 1.1 million people.
Our 5,500 staff work over several sites, including Bradford Royal Infirmary, which provides the majority of inpatient services, and St Luke’s Hospital, which predominantly provides outpatient and rehabilitation services. We also manage local community hospitals at Westwood Park, Westbourne Green, and Eccleshill.
In early 2017, a new £28 million wing opened at Bradford Royal Infirmary, part of a £75m investment to improve patient care across our hospitals over a five-year period. It provides world-class facilities for elderly care, children’s services, a state-of-the-art intensive care unit with increased single-room provision and a retail concourse.
The new wing is a continuation of our work to improve patient experience after our new £2 million neonatal unit officially opened in January 2015. Our maternity services were recently shortlisted for the Royal College of Midwives’ (RCM) Midwifery Service of the Year Award, recognising excellence and innovation in the provision of maternity care.
In 2017, we also completed a £2m refurbishment of our Emergency Department (ED) as part of an ambitious vision to create a more efficient acute medicine service for the people of Bradford. It has been designed to provide a slicker and more efficient service, with faster senior clinical involvement at an early stage in the patient pathway.
As a teaching hospital, we are at the forefront of education and development in healthcare, and have an excellent reputation for research performance. We are one of the leading centres in conducting applied research in the country, particularly in quality and safety, elderly care and rehabilitation.
The Trust is home to the Bradford Institute for Health Research (BIHR) where researchers have led the development, validation and implementation of the award-winning Bradford Electronic Frailty Index (eFI) which helps calculate an elderly person’s risk of disability, impairment, falls and complications of chronic diseases, as well as their diminishing independence and capability. This is now being used by 98 per cent of all GPs across the country.
Our award-winning Ophthalmology department is home to numerous worldwide clinical trials taking the lead in eye care research and we are one of only three sites in the United Kingdom to be enlisted in the Perioperative Enhanced Recovery Hip Fracture Care of Patients with Dementia (PERFECTED) study, which will investigate how the NHS can introduce better standards of care to improve outcomes for people with dementia.
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The Trust has its own Bradford Hospitals Charity: https://bradfordhospitalscharity.org/