April 2019 Dublin People
THE National Hearing and Implant Research Centre was officially opened by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at Beaumont Hospital earlier this month. The centre is a joint initiative of Beaumont Hospital, Temple Street Children’s Hospital, RCSI and Trinity College, Dublin. It was a wonderful day for all in attendance, including the children of parents from the Happy New Ear and Our New Ears groups.
The project was led by Prof Laura Viani, who is a pioneer in the field of cochlear implants and neurotology (neurological disorders of the ear). Dr Viani gave a special welcome to the children and insisted they were first to receive their slice of the cake, cut by the Taoiseach himself.
Dr Viani received a well-deserved standing ovation following her speech. She has changed hundreds of lives in Ireland, for children and adults, over the last 25 years. Many of them were present at the special event.
Professor Laura Viani and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar cut cake for the children at the opening of the new centre at Beaumont Hospital.
Speech pathologist, Jenny Robertson, and admin team lead, Susan Gray, were also given a special mention as valued members of staff. Dr Viani played a video clip of Emma Dunne (15), from Malahide, being switched on to sound 14 years ago, followed by footage of how she is today. Emma then presented the Taoiseach with a souvenir of the day.
Ruth Dunne, Emma’s mother, explained how the implant team have impacted their lives.
“We have been associated with Dr Viani and her amazing team since 2004,” she said. “Emma was born deaf and received her cochlear implant at age two. She is 14 years hearing this summer. She has been able to lead a normal life and attend mainstream school. "We have always received the most amazing care from the team. Emma has done extremely well. Her switch on was just so magical and it was emotional to see the video again at the official opening of the new department.”