a completely different story and actually I've got a lovely guest in the studio with me right now is doing some excellent coloring with a luminous pen Christmas as we all know is full of wonderful and exciting sounds for adults and children to carols and sleigh bells and socializing but what if you weren't able to enjoy any of those sounds this time last year been a little boy from South London hello Ben hi wasn't able to hear properly and despite a very strong case from his doctors he wasn't eligible for cochlear implants those implants would have made it possible for him not just to hear but to communicate with his peers as well but thanks in part to coverage on BBC Radio London enough money was raised to pay for the operation and eight months on I'm absolutely thrilled to say that Ben and his mum Joanna join me in the studio good morning morning morning Ben and you're also joined in the studio by Estelle Garrett Ben's therapist at the charity auditory-verbal UK hello welcome nice to see you all so so tell us first of all what life was like before Ben's operation we're talking about you you know that don't you what was life like before very different we before he he was profoundly deaf in his right ear and he was severe to profound in his left yeah which meant that he couldn't hear most of the speech sounds and and he couldn't hear a lot of everyday sounds that you and I could hear so it was a real struggle for him to communicate whether it was with hearing peers it was a struggle for him to communicate verbally yes because he he couldn't hear any of the speech sounds therefore he couldn't replicate any of them which was really hard we we would we learned all in sign language as a family because it became more and more apparent that he was going more into his own little bubble because he couldn't hear the world as weak he couldn't hear over here speech and things like that so he's in terribly frustrating for him it was it was horrible because he's a very confident character but he he just thought I can't hear any of it so I'm just going to withdraw so we all learnt sign language to try and communicate with him because that was the only way back then and I've just told everybody he wasn't eligible yeah clear implants on the NHS why not because it would sound like he was the perfect candidate for that well the criteria is now under review and there was meant to be an announcement any day now of it actually changing but this time last year you children had to be 90 decibels across two specific frequencies both is Benjamin while Benjamin was eligible on one ear so he was he was profoundly deaf in his right ear in his left ear he wasn't eligible on one frequency by about 15 decibels oh he narrowly missed it so very momenta if you were going to have the operation somebody was gonna have to pay for him it was gonna be expensive I mean get any idea is the whole thing cost in here well the the operation were everything itself if you're going to have bilateral so two cochlear implants costs 80,000 pounds Wow and surgically BBC London was able to help in some way towards that yeah it was amazing actually it was very sort of just a whirlwind because we I just I didn't know what to do so I just went to every single media outlet a thought of because I thought somebody out there must be able to help pause yes I need to get the message out there and it was when he was on BBC London News that a don't that a donor came forward who wants to remain anonymous but he's it's close to his heart yes came forward and wanted to help and yeah and I hope he's listening because that's what to say thank you have been in contact but he it was really close to his heart and he just thought I have to have to help this little boy because I mean that's properly properly giving isn't it when you don't want your name out there either and now doing it because you want to be a good that was I could tell me how different it is for Ben now oh his life is just so different so amazing he we were switched on on the 1st of May the day after that we started a therapy auditory-verbal UK with Estelle who's just amazing still in a second yeah yeah and he he can hear I mean a few two weeks after he was switched on he heard birds for the first time and he didn't know what that sound was it's a bird and after but he he really got used to sound very quickly yeah so he was and so they start off very low and then he turned him up turned him up and he just got used to sound very quickly absolutely loves sound and he over hearing speech now over hearing other people's speech and copying it over hearing the television movies music and yeah it's this Christmas is gonna be a very different Christmas from the hospital last year yeah because all of the music yesterday we had Santa coming up and d'arnot down our road that Santa in your road yesterday did you did he bring presents yeah no he didn't bring what did he do we heard the music though didn't we who was there music Santa kind of special Christmas music doing a lot nodding and plus a lot of coloring is going on you can just say you know what's happening um well you know it's fabulous news isn't it let's let's bring Estelle into all of this Estelle Garrett Ben's therapist at this charity audio auditory-verbal UK so what do you do for a little boy who hasn't really heard very much at all and then is gradually as as his mum says being turned on and turned up well I think the main thing to it to know about it is that when you put on a pair of glasses because you've got a vision issue yeah it creates it immediately yeah that doesn't happen with a cochlear implant uh-huh obviously because Bennett had a long period of time with no language with some language I should say yes and a few words that he could say and quite a few signs yes however his brain is not wired for listening yes and because he hasn't been able to listen properly so it takes somewhere in the region of two years to make up the gap so he's starting like a newborn baby might be starting now listening to new sounds but he's starting to use his intelligence to put that together with words and so when you when you when you have a session with him for example what what do you do well we had a particular test called the Ling test which is to check that his devices are work he's wearing are working correctly and he's listening through them and he can hear all the frequencies yes and mum does that at home as well so that's a check-in yeah and then after that it's really completely play the children think they come to play yeah but it's all structured we have an idea of what language were building and what concepts we need him to learn and what words he needs for those concepts and how is this progress going but I mean really it's not about what we do at a vu okay we're coaches we literally show mum what it is she needs to do for the next step yes and then she goes home and does the work so if we were to see Ben as we do once a fortnight and the parents did nothing yeah there wouldn't be the progress there is now it's down to Joanna and her family doing the work we worship simply showing them a guy did roots right so Ben hasn't said anything so far but easy chatting too much more he's chatting yeah he's chatting a lot more I mean he still isn't isn't there yet it's not we heard my team just told me was really noisy out there with his brother yeah no he's all quiet now but he can say he can say lots and lots now he stood the work he's still ongoing he's only been at AV for about seven months or so yeah and I expect that to be at least kind of two years but he is doing brilliantly and I speaking more are you excited for Christmas are you looking forward to some presents yeah there we go what would you like to get for Christmas what present would you like spider-man spider-man and you want Power Ranger too don't you yeah and do you think it's likely that father Christmas will bring you spider-man this year do you think he'll bring spider-man have you been a good boy yes yes yes it's very nice to meet you we're absolutely thrilled that the BBC London could have played any part in this at all and we're absolutely delighted to meet you and see the result then I wish you a very Merry Christmas thank you say Merry Christmas Mary cuz

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