Child hears father’s voice for first time

Grayson was born with no cochlear nerves and as a result could not hear.

The 3-year-old from Charlotte received the first-ever auditory brain stem implant in a child during a surgery done in spring 2013 at UNC Hospitals.

“I’ve never seen a look like that today,” said Grayson’s father, Len Clamp, of the day that the implant was turned on for the first time. “I mean, he looked deep into my eyes. He was hearing my voice for the first time. It was phenomenal.”

The surgery, performed by Dr. Craig Buchman, a professor of otolaryngology/head and neck surgery, and Dr. Matthew Ewend, chair of the department of neurosurgery, is the first of its kind performed in the United States as part of an FDA clinical trial.

“Seeing him respond, that had a lot of feelings for me,” said Buchman. “I felt like there was a potential that we were effectively changing the world in some ways.”

The device Grayson received was originally used for patients with deafness due to auditory nerve tumors, which impact hearing. The device is now being considered to help restore hearing in children.

Make a gift in support of the Auditory Brain Stem Implant Clinical Trial and help more children.

Published June 21, 2013.