The surprise on 3-year-old Grayson Clamp’s face in the video is priceless. His mouth opens wide as he points to the person in front of him speaking.
It was the first time Grayson had heard sound. He was born without a cochlear nerve, which connects the brain stem to audio waves in the outside world. His parents had him fitted for a cochlear implant at a young age, but the device didn’t help.
Last month, Grayson became the first child in the United States to receive an auditory brain stem implant.
Len and Nicole Clamp were Grayson’s foster parents when he was a newborn. They adopted him as soon as they could, believing God had called them to care for the medically challenged boy.
Auditory brain stem implants already have been available for adults. When the Clamps heard about a Food and Drug Administration-approved trial for children at the UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, they jumped at the chance to participate.
We are unsure how we feel about this. It seems like a very invasive, and dangerous procedure for such a young child – especially a child that wasn’t under the threat of losing his life in any way. While we respect the family’s decision, we’d like to say that being Deaf isn’t a curse. It would seem that Grayson’s family understand this for the most part too; we’ve watched a few videos and it seems that his parents (or at least his father) have taken the time to learn how to sign.