Friday, July 04, 2008

Thank heaven for little boys.

Back in April Tom took part in a study at the University of York. The study, being carried out by Rosie Lovett under the direction of Professor Quentin Summerfield, is assessing the spatial listening skills of children with cochlear implants. Rosie is clever - it says so here. This is a formal take on Rosie's study and here is a short ramble about Tom's small part in it.

Rosie and the Mufessor sent us the results of Tom's assessments and they demonstrate just what a marvellous creation cochlear implants are, how justified we were in pushing for bilaterals and what powers of concentration Tom has developed. This last one is a surprising but not unwelcome byproduct of the long hours of therapy, mapping and assessment Tom has endured over the past couple of years. The study in York took three hours, interspersed with three breaks, and our wee man powered through - engaged and compliant throughout.

In terms of the results - they quantified what we see every day. Tom is performing incredibly well in terms of left-right discrimination and, while nowhere close to normal hearing children, he can discern speech through quite a significant level of noise - the benefits of bilateral implantation that we were so keen on him acquiring.

When Rosie's study is complete, I fully expect it to join this recently published paper (abstract here) in the growing pile of evidence that demonstrates the bleedin' obvious - two ears are significantly (QALY and scientifically speaking) better than one.

At the end of our day out in York back in April, Rosie took a picture of Tom in the hallway outside the 'ring of sound' room - we were in an ajoining room getting our stuff together. We kept hearing Rosie giggling, with Tom joining in as is his wont.

'Tom... could you take your hands out of your trousers for this picture?'...

Rosie sent a lovely 'Junior Investigator' certificate with the report; glossy with a portrait of Tom at its centre. Mercifully, it has been cropped at the waist but, given the angle of the arms, its quite clear where his hands are.

Thank heaven for little boys.

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