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30 years of The Ear Foundation

Now feels like a good time to reflect on all The Ear Foundation has achieved in our fantastic first 30 years.

The goal of The Ear Foundation remains to support people to live well with hearing loss, to make the most of hearing technology in everyday life and to develop the skills to succeed and participate with confidence - to hear, communicate and connect.

Thank you to everyone who supports The Ear Foundation and has contributed their time, effort and money over the years

1989 - The Ear Foundation was established and was instrumental in bringing cochlear implants for children to the UK. Dr Barry McCormick, Mr Gerard O’Donoghue, Dr Mark Lutman, Mrs Sue Archbold and Ms Dee Dyar made up the first implant team in the UK. The first child in Britain, Michael Batt, was implanted on the 17th March 1989 here in Nottingham, with his operation funded by Mrs Marjorie Sherman who had read about Michaels’ and that of The Ear Foundation’s story in the newspaper.

1990 - The Ear Foundation held its first family BBQ, a tradition that has held for almost 30 years! It was also the year when the Nottingham Paediatric Cochlear Implant Programme was established, supported by The Ear Foundation’s first information day on Cochlear Implants for parents.

1991 - The Ear Foundation held its first annual Christmas Ball at Prestwold Hall in Leicestershire to help raise funds towards our services. It was also the year when our very first newsletter was printed, in black and white!

1992 - The Ear Foundation held the 1st European Symposium on Paediatric Cochlear Implantation right here in Nottingham. This conference brought together professionals in the field of hearing loss from around the world to present on pioneering changes to hearing technologies. Since its inception it has gone onto become one of the largest international events focusing on paediatric cochlear implantation and has gained a reputation as a leading meeting in the field of auditory implants in children. 

1993 - The Ear Foundation raised funds and purchased a Grade 2 listed building (Trafalgar House) near the QMC Hospital and together with a number of volunteers, local businesses and parents of children with a hearing loss restored the building to provide residential home from home accommodation for families travelling to Nottingham for cochlear implant operations. The opening was made by Mrs Sherman and Duke of Devonshire and re-named as The Marjorie Sherman House. Also in 1993 Dr Margaret Tait of The Ear Foundation who was part of the first Cochlear Implant team and was Michael Batt’s teacher pioneered the video analysis which is still being used to this day!  The analysis was a method of assessing changes in preverbal and early linguistic communication after implantation.

1994 - The Ear Foundation made national headlines by featuring on the TV programme ‘Tomorrow’s World’ with our newly developed materials for parents and teachers working with children who use Cochlear Implants. This was ground breaking for Cochlear Implants by being thrust into the national spotlight.

1995 – The Ear Foundation celebrated the 100th Cochlear Implant operation in the UK at our Centre Parcs family weekend.  This weekend saw over 300 people attend our 2 day conference and brought together people from all over Europe. Thus The Ear Foundation becoming founder members of Euro CIU (Cochlear Implant Users) Group!

1996 - The Ear Foundation led a multi-professional workshop on paediatric Cochlear Implantation to an international audience which marked the start of a very busy time for our professionals who had the pleasure of travelling far and wide to deliver our education and family programmes.

1997 - The Ear Foundation started annual teenagers summer residential weekends. These events, which continue today on a much larger scale then when it first started, look to bring young people together for adventure challenges and friendship building in a safe and inclusive environment.  A great experience for young people to boost their self-esteem and confidence.

1998 - As our services grew and Cochlear Implants became more mainstream The Ear Foundation needed a much larger space and an appeal for our current property was launched. The land was adjacent to the Marjorie Sherman House and was currently occupied by a car garage! 1998 was a year of lots of fundraising and awareness building!

1999 - Ground breaking on the new build started and the first stone was laid by Mrs Sherman and Michael Batt, the first recipient of a Cochlear Implant in the UK. Professor Graeme Clark the inventor of the multiple-channel cochlear implant visited the UK and The Ear Foundation and unveiled The Ear Foundation’s new training room for professionals working with children with a hearing loss, now named after him.

2000 - Our new facility was in full swing and our education and family programmes were taking off to new heights with us being able to offer families and professionals a purpose built space for them to visit. Our work both at home and abroad grew and a new team was being assembled to meet the demand.

2001 - Princess Alexandra ‘officially’ opened the new facility with many guests and families joining us for the opening. The Ear Foundation continued to develop ground breaking research into Cochlear Implants and hearing loss and had a number of papers published both in the UK and overseas.

2002 - The Ear Foundation branched out into other hearing technologies and started our first work in supporting people over the age of 18 who live with a hearing loss. The Ear Foundation held a number of conferences over the year with the ‘Measuring the Immeasurable’ conference proving to be a huge success for people living with a hearing loss.  

2003 - The Ear Foundation and Euro CIU collaborated on the 1st International Conference on Cochlear implants.  This conference and Euro CIU have gone onto becoming one of the world’s largest meetings in the community and represents almost 150,000 cochlear implant users across Europe.

2004 - The Ear Foundation continued to develop our education programme overseas and visited a number of countries who were in need of training and support in developing their provisions for people with a hearing loss. The Ear Foundation hosted a number of international speakers in the field of Deafness throughout the year here in Nottingham.

2005 - The Ear Foundation launched a series of Twilight Lectures with presentations given by leading professionals in the field of Cochlear Implantation. These lectures were filmed live and put on-line in real time! Challenging to say the least! These days we continue to host twilight lectures on-line but are filmed in advance!

2006 - The Ear Foundation were granted the ‘Investors in People’ award for our work with our staff and volunteers. This achievement highlighted the critical role volunteers play in The Ear Foundation and why still today we have over 100 volunteers supporting our various programmes.

2007 - We were visited by Sophie, Countess of Wessex who had taken an interest in our work and joined us for our annual family open day. It was also the first year The Ear Foundation and Euro CIU hosted the European Friendship Week for teenagers from around Europe with a hearing loss. The EFW programme continues today with as many as 50 teenagers from 10 European countries at our latest event!

2008 - The Ear Foundation launched a new service – ‘Sound Advice’ – which is a multi-professional service for children. The Ear Foundation during the year co-ordinated the user group responses to NICE  (The Governments ‘National Institute for Health & Care Excellence’) Technology Appraisal.

2009 - The Ear Foundation celebrated its 20th Birthday and had a year full of celebrations. Throughout the year there were international conferences hosted by The Ear Foundation, a reception at Nottingham Council House in recognition of The Ear Foundation’s work in the community, and a CI led musical concert held at the University of Nottingham to name but a few. The governments NICE guidelines were published supporting bilateral implantation in children which was driven by The Ear Foundation research and lobbying teams.

2010 - The Ear Foundation’s Teenagers and volunteers visited number 10 Downing Street along with Children in Need to help raise awareness for Cochlear Implants and hearing loss.  In 2010 The Ear Foundation also received the ‘Investors in People’ award which is a standard in people management.

2011 - The Ear Foundation launched the ‘Sounding Board’ website for professionals working in the field of hearing loss, a one stop shop forum and information site.

2012 - The Ear Foundation was firmly established as a leader in our field of work and were awarded the ‘Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service’,  the highest award given to volunteer groups across the UK.  Lord Lt Sir Andrew Buchanan presented the award at a special ceremony to honour the Charity.

2013 - With the newborn hearing screening established, The Ear Foundation looked at supporting those people aged 18 and above help manage their hearing loss. The Hear2Help and Sound Advice for Adults programme were launched. The Ear Foundation became instrumental with Adult public policy work at government level and produced a number of published reports which were launched in Westminster. Acclaimed film director Ken Loach visited The Ear Foundation and had a special screening of his film ‘Spirit of 45’ in our conference room! Ken has since become a patron of the Charity.

2014 - An appeal was launched to build an extension to our existing building and after a few months groundbreaking began! The new extension would double our size and was named ‘Sound Space’. The Ear Foundation also formed the Adult CI Action Group and launched a number of deafness in adults reports in Westminster with our local MP and others.

2015 - After a successful campaign to raise funds to further expand the building the new centre was built offering people of all ages using all hearing technologies a purpose built space. ‘Sound Space’ gave us 2 sound treated hearing booths, a large social and training room and a technology suite. 

2016 - The Ear Foundation launched a European report in parliament in Brussels, Belgium, called Spend2Save. The Ear Foundation also made domestic news by being selected by Global radio as their charity of the year for ‘Make some Noise’!

2017 - The Ear Foundation collaborated with AG Bell to bring the ‘Early Intervention’ conference to the UK and launched a series of follow up reports to Spend2Save in Westminster.

2018 - The Ear Foundation made news by visiting Uganda and delivering support and education materials to teachers of the deaf and other professionals working over there with limited resources. The Ear Foundation has since been back to see their progress and glad to say things move forward!


You can download our winter 2019 newsletter here Winter Newsletter 2019.pdf

Feb 21, 2020

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