Helping profoundly deaf children from disadvantaged backgrounds in India to receive the gift of hearing.
The Graeme Clark Foundation aims to ensure that all deaf people can hear and develop their full potential in the world of sound, regardless of their financial position. The Foundation’s ‘Sounds of Simone in India’ Legacy Fund will help profoundly deaf children India from disadvantaged backgrounds to receive the gift of hearing.
The Legacy Fund is set up in honour of Simone Jeha who was an employee at Cochlear. She had visited India while working for the company and was moved by the plight of Indian children who were profoundly deaf and whose families could not afford a cochlear implant and its ongoing maintenance. Having seen what benefits cochlear implants can provide, Simone returned to Australia with a resolve fund cochlear implants for children in India who can’t afford them.
She persevered with her dream until an unexpected illness with cancer made her too weak to continue. Now her family and friends have partnered with the Graeme Clark Foundation to finish the job. SoSil - Sounds of Simone in India - is her legacy. It is now an annual appeal to help more children in India to hear, so they can reach their full potential in life - in the world of sound.
Support for Disadvantaged Children Needing a Cochlear Implant
This work has been initiated by helping Luis Aurelio Castillo Vega a two year old Peruvian boy who was diagnosed with a profound bilateral sensoi neural hearing loss shortly after birth. Though his parents recognised the great benefits of a cochlear implant, limited financial resources made getting an implant impossible. The Graeme Clark Foundation has made a major contribution towards a cochlear implant for Luis and an American surgeon has donated his services for Luis. His surgery has been completed and he is now making good progress.
Ear Disease and Deafness in Indigenous Australians
Ear disease and deafness in indigenous Australians is present in 90% of children. It is a major health problem and Graeme Clark has been involved in finding solutions since being Chair of the Medical Subcommittee of the Deafness Foundation of Victoria since 1975. The Graeme Clark Foundation is planning to participate in an explorative study into Aboriginal ear disease in conjunction with Stephen O’Leary, William Gibson Professor of Otolaryngology at The University of Melbourne.
Studies are planned to determine how deaf children and adults can use their cochlear implants and/or hearing aids to best effect in education and social settings. It is so important for them to be integrated into society and learn to use the right strategies that maximise their ability to communicate. Research will be supported by the Graeme Clark Foundation.
Recognition of Speech Features for Cochlear Implant Patients
A study in conjunction with the Communications Science Centre at La Trobe University has commenced on a teenage patient with a cochlear implant from England to determine how electrical signals are interpreted as speech. This study is on a university student who recently received the Cochlear Ltd Graeme Clark Scholarship in the United Kingdom with the view to becoming a cochlear implant speech scientist.
Developing Spoken Language in Profoundly Deaf Children
A documentary on giving deaf children the best start in life through fluent spoken language and social integration has been produced by Paul and Margaret Drane, from Pipeline Media, in conjunction with Dimity Dornan from Hear and Say Brisbane, Rhonda Nay from the Institute for Social Participation at La Trobe University, Graeme Clark and The Graeme Clark Foundation. In a study spanning more than seven years, the film highlights the benefits that early implantation of cochlear implants brings to children’s language development and demonstrates that it is possible for deaf children to acquire language skills that are even above average for their hearing peers. The film was made possible through the generous donations of the Hear and Say Centre in Queensland, the Institute for Social Participation at La Trobe University, documentary makers Paul and Margaret Drane, as well as Graeme Clark and the Graeme Clark Foundation It has now been distributed world-wide distribution through appropriate channels. It is also the basis for developing tactics for social participation.
Tinnitus is a ringing, whistling noise in the ear affecting approximately one in ten people. It can be very disturbing, sometimes having a debilitating effect on job performance and social enjoyment. There is no satisfactory cure presently available, although certain drugs can alleviate on a temporary basis. The Foundation aims to encourage research to find more sustained delivery systems that can cure this disabling condition.
Spinal Cord Research
The Baulkham Inner Wheel Club donated funds towards the cost of equipment for spinal cord repair and an advanced bionic ear being conducted through the bionics program at the Graeme Clark Centre for Bionic Ear and Neurosensory Research at La Trobe University. This has been part of the ARC Centre for Electromaterials at University of Wollongong.