Imagine a vacuum of sound. At first blush, it may not seem like a big deal. For oldsters, it may mean say, “What did you say?” to a spouse on a regular basis. But real true loss of hearing means that the other senses like sight, touch and taste are ramped up to sensory overload to compensate. Someone appears without warning. A slight pat on the shoulder is a shock.
That’s why cochlear implants have been a breathtaking development for those with hearing challenges.
But the implants are just part of the journey for those with hearing challenges. Especially youngsters going through the usual aging process may feel like they are truly the only ones in this world of audio developments. True, they are unique, but they are not alone.
And that’s why Callier Center for Communication Disorders’ Cochlear Implant Summer Listening Camp from Monday, July 24, thru Friday, July 28, was so important. During this time, 43 munchkins from four to 11 years old and a team of graduate students from the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences at UT Dallas serving as counselors gathered at Cross Creek Ranch in Parker County to discover that they could play games, scamper through the outdoors, dance, do crafts and just be playmates.
Despite the 90-degree temperatures, the kids didn’t mind one bit racing with beach balls and trying to captures bubbles.
But the big eye opener was grownup Richard Neely. He had an aura of happiness and success about him. But what got the kids’ attention were his cochlear implants. With his smile and proudly letting them see his cochlear implants, he was a rock star.
Another standout adult was a counselor, who had been one of these munchkins years ago.
Eavesdropping on the activities were the Callier Cares and Chi Omega representative Jane Porter. Callier’s Cochlear Implant Program had been selected to be one of the 2017 Chi Omega Christmas Market beneficiaries.
As the Callier Center types like Callier Center Foundation President John Stuart, Bennett Cullum, Callier Cares Luncheon Chair Beth Thoele, Sara Martineau and Tricia George watched, they were amazed that despite the July weather, the campers were in overdrive laughing, teasing and just being kids.
As one counselor smiled looking at the campers running about, “They’ll sleep well tonight.”