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Our Story

The Ear Foundation – an amazing international influence in making us put our families at the centre of all we do.. combining professionalism with passion.”  Prof Emily Tobey, The Callier Centre, University of Texas, Dallas

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We live in a time of the most exciting hearing technologies, which transform the lives of deaf people. Yet, back in 1989, cochlear implants for deaf children were not available in England. The Ear Foundation (founded by Gerry O’Donoghue, surgeon, and Barry McCormick, Audiological Scientist) was established as a Charity to fund and provide them and demonstrate their benefit in children.

Deafness in childhood and adulthood has a devastating effect on language and communication developments. The first child, Michael Batt, was implanted in March 1989, with his operation funded by Mrs Marjorie Sherman, who had read about the urgent need and who, throughout her lifetime, continued to support the work of The Ear Foundation- support which continues by her family to this day.

NameFrom this early and controversial beginning, cochlear implants for deaf children and adults are now routine provision bringing benefits un-thought of 25 years ago. Michael, obtained a first class honours degree, has an excellent job and, now acts as an advocate for others who may be thinking about implants.

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The work of The Ear Foundation continues, providing a bridge between the clinical services where these modern hearing technologies are fitted and home, school and work where they are used. We provide:

  • Our Family Programme: Connect & Communicate in Marjorie Sherman House
  • Our Continuing Education Programme in Nottingham, throughout the UK, internationally and on the web
  • Our Sound Advice Programme helping to make the most of the technology
  • Our Advocacy and Lobbying Programme supporting access to the use of appropriate hearing technologies for all who need them
  • Our Family and User-led Research Programme providing evidence-base from our activities

Now we reach over 3,500 delegates and 1,500 families a year directly and indirectly via our website.