Watch the magical moment Samuel hears again thanks to Cambridge doctor's hearing aid invention

  • Watch the magical moment Samuel hears again, in Callum Fairhurst's report for ITV News Anglia

This is the joyous moment 14-year-old Samuel hears again for the first time in seven years - thanks to a "game-changer" hearing aid developed by UK doctors.

The device, which costs just $25, is being rolled out to children with hearing difficulties in Malawi by the team of specialists from the Cambridge Global Health Partnership.

It was originally invented by Dr Tamsin Brown for children at her Cambridge clinic with middle ear problems, but its low cost and ease of charging makes it ideal for patients in developing countries.

Inspired by bone-conducting headphones popular with cyclists and runners, the aid works by sending sound as a vibration across the bones of the skull to the inner hearing, which sits within the bone, Dr Brown explained.

"It just sits in front of the ears, which means that in Malawi, where you've got children who might have discharge, the discharge can still come out of the ear and the hearing can still be supported because it sits on the cheekbones instead," said Dr Brown, who works in partnership with the Cambridge Global Health Partnership.

The middle-ear problems that stopped Samuel from hearing affect hundreds of other children and adults in Malawi.

The device works by using bone-conducting technology which bypasses the middle ear. Credit: ITV News Anglia

In the UK, most middle ear issues come from glue ear - a common condition that usually dissipates on its own, though in the most serious cases it can require surgery.

But in Malawi, a country with just one ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgeon, that is not an option open to most people.

As the condition can deteriorate, experts say the new device has the capacity to be life-changing.

Consultant ENT surgeon Isobel Fitzgerald O'Connor described the device as "a game-changer".

"It's something that is easy to manufacture. It is easy to use. It doesn't require the help of a healthcare professional to use it.

"And it means that children can use this without needing to access extra health support from a health care professional such as an audiologist, when these people just aren't available in these situations."

The hearing aids are inspired by bone conducting headphones popular with cyclists and runners. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The device is also easier to charge using solar power, bypassing the need for small batteries that are found in many more conventional hearing aids.

Mwanaisha Phiri, an audiologist in Malawi, said: "If they have discharge in the ears, this special hearing aid can be worn. It's also known to be cheaper than other hearing aids."

The team from Cambridge is also helping children in the UK.

Delilah O'Riordan from Essex is one of the children whose lives have been changed by the invention. She said: "It's made so much of a difference.

Delilah O'Riordan said the headset had changed her life. Credit: ITV News Anglia

"When I was in primary school the teachers used to think I was naughty because I would do wrong things because I just couldn't hear.

"When I got the headset, I could hear and it made it a lot easier. Dr Tamsin definitely changed my life.

"I wouldn't be where I am now if she hadn't done what she's done for me."

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