Help give more children like Max the joy of sound

​Imagine a life lived without hearing birdsong, beautiful music or the sound of your loved ones’ voices. Your gift could help fund a room that could change all that for a child.

Three-year-old Max was born almost totally deaf. Surgical implants brought him the joy of sound. But to switch them on safely, a silent, specially equipped room was crucial to protect his sensitive little ears.

Mum Giulia whispers in the ear of her son, Max.

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Why silence is the secret to helping children learn to hear.

Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) is a specialist centre for helping deaf children receive cochlear implants – high-tech devices that turn sound into tiny electrical signals, so young brains can learn to listen. 

“When we switch on a child’s cochlear implants, it’s vital that we don’t overload their tiny ears,” says Catherine Broxholme, Lead Audiologist for Cochlear Implants. “That’s why a soundproof room is essential. Many children have never heard sound before in their life.”

GOSH’s Cochlear Implant team used to have a room like this. But, sadly, the passage of time has seen its soundproofing begin to fail, so it no longer meets modern needs.

Worse still, the team are in a race against time because, after the age of around three, young brains can no longer learn to hear. That’s why we urgently need to build a new soundproof room to help more babies and children just like Max. 

You could help many more deaf children hear how much they’re loved. 

Without help from Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), Max would have lived his whole life in silence, never hearing his mum, Giulia, say: “I love you.” It’s also unlikely he’d have learned to speak. 

“When they told me Max was deaf, I was devastated,” says Max’s mum, Giulia. “The quietest thing he’d be able to hear would be a plane taking off next to him. Thinking he might never know my voice was heart-breaking. 

“Luckily, we were referred to GOSH for cochlear implants. Max had a six-hour operation when he was around one year old. A couple of weeks later, we went back to GOSH to activate the implants in a special soundproof room.

“When they switched the implants on, Max looked surprised and really happy. He could hear a toy being banged on a table and he clapped his hands and smiled. My heart just melted! Since then he’s learned to hear and speak amazingly well.”

Max uses saucepans at home to play the drums.

If we don’t act now, children might have to wait longer in the future.

As well as being outdated, the Cochlear Implant team’s soundproof room is already at full capacity. And as technology improves over time, more children will be seeking help at GOSH. 

Unless the Cochlear Implant team increases their capacity soon, waiting times may rise. And delays in treatment could make it hard to help more children like Max before it’s too late. Your gift can ensure that doesn’t happen. 

By making a donation to fund one room, you could help transform the lives of thousands of children. 

“Max’s dad, Julien, and I feel so lucky that he was able to go to GOSH,” says Giulia. “But I know that there are so many other children who need help. 

“Each room can help up to six children every day, so over the coming years, that’s thousands of children and families whose lives will be totally transformed.”

Could you help us build a new soundproof room with a donation today? 

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How cochlear implants work

A graphic that explains how cochlear implants work.

For most people, sound enters the ear, vibrates the ear drum, and stimulates 20,000 tiny hairs inside the spiral-shaped cochlear. This generates electrical signals that the brain inteprets as sound.

For some deaf children, a cochlear implant does the work instead. An external circular microphone and a sound processor (that looks like a hearing aid) create electrical signals that are transmitted via the hearing nerve to the brain.

How we'll spend your kind gift

Our target for this appeal is to raise £200,000 towards a new cochlear implant sound booth. If we exceed that sum, or if hospital/patient needs change, the money raised will be spent to achieve the maximum benefit for children at GOSH. Wherever possible, we aim to spend your donation on building and equipping facilities for children with sight and hearing impairments.

If you have any questions or would like to make a donation over the phone, please call our Supporter Care team on 020 3841 3131.