Sounds like a new world to Eimear

Eimear Bracken, who underwent groundbreaking surgery recently in Tullamore's Midland Regional Hospital.
A Co Longford parent has spoken of her joy at seeing her beloved daughter’s hearing restored to near full capacity following a life changing operation in Tullamore’s Midland Regional Hospital.

A Co Longford parent has spoken of her joy at seeing her beloved daughter’s hearing restored to near full capacity following a life changing operation in Tullamore’s Midland Regional Hospital.

Elizabeth Bracken said she and her husband Brendan are still basking in the excitement of seeing their daughter, Eimear, respond to everyday sounds she previously had no inclination of.

Six weeks on from the pioneering surgery which is believed to be the first of its kind in Ireland, Eimear is back at her desk at St Theresa’s National School in Killoe.

And according to her proud mum, Elizabeth, the happy-go-lucky nine-year-old is enjoying every minute of her new found capabilities.

“Before the operation, Eimear had hearing aids but they weren’t strong enough,” explained Elizabeth.

Having managed to negotiate her way through much of her early school life without the merest gripe, Eimear was earmaked for an innovative procedure known as the magnetic BAHA system by consultant ENT surgeon Howard Savage Jones.

In most cases it is designed for patients who suffer from conductive hearing loss, or in Eimear’s case, moderative hearing loss.

A magnet, otherwise known as a magnetic device, together with a magnetic hearing aid was attached to Eimear’s head, before being finally turned on last Thursday.

Earlier this week, Eimear returned to the Midland Regional Hospital for a check up, something Elizabeth was keen to testify to.

“It was brilliant,” she said.

“She can hear things much more clearly. On the way back in the car, she said ‘What’s that (noise)?’

“We reckoned it was the wheels turning on the road hitting the water which was probably something she hadn’t heard before.”

According to Elizabeth, other possible solutions to Eimear’s hearing difficulties were explored before medics ultimately opted for the BAHA system.

“Surgery was done on Emer’s ear to see if they could reconstruct her bones, but that wasn’t possible so they went with the other option and attached a bone anchored hearing aid,” she added.

Elizabeth, who is a medical secretary by profession, said she is fully convinced Eimear now has between “80-90 per cent” hearing capacity following the operation.

She he reserved a special word of appreciation to Mr Jones.

Eimear’s school friends have been quick to make a fuss of the popular fourth class pupil as well.

“The other day when she went back into school, all the kids were amazed,” she enthused.

“They have always been so good to her there.”

And with Eimear’s 10th birthday set for New Year’s Day, it looks like the Brackens will have a very special festive season to look forward to this year.