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November 22, 2002

Hearing miracle workers visit Orange

From: Orange Central Western Daily, Australia
Nov. 22, 2002

By Janice Harris

SCOTT Simpson has beautiful diction and speaks with all the aplomb of someone who has had elocution lessons.

The eight-year-old's achievements as a profoundly deaf child are due to the extraordinary advances in Australia with cochlear implants, and this week he has been able to have a regular check in his home city instead of travelling to Sydney.

For the first time, staff of the Sydney Cochlear Implant Centre has visited Orange to work with the many clients in the area who are profoundly deaf.

Ages of district clients range from a five-month old baby to people in their 80s.

General manager Chris Rehn visited Orange along with audiologists for the first of what is to become a regular program for the district.

Scott became profoundly deaf after contracting meningitis at 17 months, however, a cochlear implant has helped him take his place in a hearing world.

His mother Karen says the implant has changed the lives of Scott and the family.

"Its absolutely wonderful - he can hear just like any other child,” she said.

Australia now leads the world in cochlear implant technology.

The device is implanted surgically behind the ear under anaesthetic and is supplemented by a small speech processor on the outside of the ear which creates radio waves between the two devices.

Yesterday Scott took part in a 'tuning' session with an audiologist.

The centre, which receives limited government funding, works as a charity to provide all of its services free to recipients.

Mr Rehn said the total cost of helping a child from start to finish was $60,000.

Mr Rehn said the visits to Orange by the Sydney Cochlear Implant Centre would reduce the burden of clients having to travel to Sydney for treatment.

The service is only one-third funded by government with the remainder donated from the community via service organisations and individuals.

For more information on cochlear implants call Chris Rehn on 9817-0011.

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