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April 14, 2005

Hear, hear as Kyle tunes in again

From: Independent Online, South Africa - Apr 14, 2005

By Di Caelers

With the adorable nonchalance of childhood, little Kyle Clark nods sagely at audiologist Jenny Perold, just for a second, then returns to his puzzle.

Occasionally he smiles too, totally unaware of the significance of the fact that he is acknowledging he can hear.

Kyle is well known to Cape Argus readers who pulled together earlier this year to secure a double cochlear implant for the four-year-old from George, left deaf after surviving meningitis.

The rush to fund the expensive hearing devices was because Kyle's ear canals were calcifying fast, and he would have lost the chance to hear again if the implants could not be inserted into his ear canals.

This week audiologist Perold, from Tygerberg Hospital's cochlear implant unit, was fine-tuning little Kyle's new equipment, the start of a process that will continue almost daily for the next two weeks until his hearing is "restored".

Kyle had the operation at Tygerberg at the end of February, and this week his father Gary brought him back to Cape Town for the big switch-on.

It has only been a few short months, but it is already obvious how much speech Kyle has already lost, and Perold said he was already unsure of what sound was.

"What we're doing here is teaching him to again make sense of sound," she said.

Perold said Kyle would also have to undergo speech therapy to help him regain his language.

Gary Clark thanked Cape Argus readers who rallied to Kyle's aid and helped raise R180 000 through fundraising organisation the Heart of Healing.

• This article was originally published on page 5 of The Cape Argus on April 14, 2005

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