The Graeme Clark Foundation aims to ensure that all deaf people can hear and develop their full potential in the world of sound. It is essential that the ground breaking research resulting in the cochlear implant (bionic ear), led by Graeme Clark and developed industrially by Cochlear Limited, provide the best possible help to severely deaf children and adults in Australia and around the world. The Foundation is also assisting those who are financially and socially disadvantaged to obtain a cochlear implant. In addition, the Foundation has assumed a broader responsibility to give hearing generally to those with middle ear disease, and in particular indigenous Australians where ear infections are a major problem. The Foundation is also supporting research to achieve high fidelity hearing, acute hearing in noise and musical appreciation with a cochlear implant and/or hearing aid. This will also require training in listening skills and verbal language. In particular, it will support young scientists with innovative ideas to solve this problem and help them in their career development. The Foundation also aims to foster research that will lead to a cure for blindness and spinal cord injuries.
In Australia three in every thousand people are profoundly hearing impaired in both ears. Most of these people (approximately 60,000) will not receive adequate help with a hearing aid, and therefore could benefit from the cochlear implant (bionic ear). In addition, eight in every thousand people are severely deaf in the better ear, but profoundly deaf in the poorer ear. Many of these people could now benefit from a cochlear implant in the poorer ear, and a hearing aid in the better one. In Australia there are 160,000 people in this category. In addition, over one in a thousand children who are under four are born with deafness due to maternal and genetic factors.. So there are approximately 300 new cases of children born deaf each year.
The pioneering research by Graeme Clark and team has led to the development of a new discipline in medical research, namely Medical Bionics. It will help form the scientific basis for the development of a bionic eye and bionic spinal cord. It is estimated that four in a thousand people in the US are legally blind. This is a similar incidence to those who are profoundly deaf. There are 50,000 Australians who are blind. Loss of the sense of touch, as well as mobility, occurs all too frequently with spinal cord injuries. It is most common in young healthy males, caused by road accidents, falls, and sporting injuries. Approximately 12,000 people inAustralia are affected, with at least 300 new cases per year. The cost to the country is roughly one million dollars over the lifetime of each individual, thus equating to a total of 12 billion dollars.
Appreciation from people using a cochlear implant:
“I can’t help feeling I’m experiencing a modern day miracle every day I talk to my mom on the phone.”
Anne Schmidt, Texas USA
“It has truly been a blessing in my life. I am most appreciative of your work and thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Jack Day, Washington USA
“Thank you, thank you, thank you. I can’t say it enough. You have changed my son’s life forever.”
Jack Aregood, New Jersey USA