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April 20, 2005

Implant surgery done on deaf boy

From: Ahmedabad Newsline - Ahmedabad,India - Apr 20, 2005


Express News Service

Ahmedabad, April 20: Internationally renowned otoneurologist and ENT surgeon Dr Gerard O Donoghue on Wednesday conducted 'Cochlear Implant Surgery' on a 11-year-old boy at Rajasthan Hospitals. The operation was shown live to a number of ENT surgeons who had come to the hospital to attend a workshop on this specialised surgery.

Dr Donoghue performed the surgery on Osho Sharma, who was born deaf. The surgery started at 9:00 am and ended at 12 noon. The ENT surgeons attending the workshop were able to see the surgery and interact with Dr Donoghue through videoconferencing.

Dr Donoghue, a pioneers in cochlear implant, has performed the maximum number of implant surgeries in the paediatric age group in the world. The cochlear implant surgery enables a deaf person to hear the 'sound of music' along with its fineries. The cochlear implant surgeries are done in case of those who are deaf from birth or have acquired this disability as a result of any mishap. And this surgery is advised to those who have repeatedly failed to respond to the conventional treatment. Dr Donoghue, an FRCS from Ireland, has worked at Royal National Institute of ENT, London from 1979 to 1981. He also worked as a senior registrar at Oxford and Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading. Currently, he is ENT Consultant, Queens Medical Centre, Nottingham, and also teaches at Nottingham University.

According to Dr Mahendra Naik, senior ENT consultant at Rajasthan Hospitals, there are 400 kids in Gujarat who have been screened and are waiting for cochlear implant surgery. ''Of the total 24,000 deaf people in our country, only 0.4 per cent of them need this implant,'' said Dr Naik, also the honorary ENT specialist to the Governor of Gujarat.

''Since the total cost of this surgery crosses Rs 8.5 lakh, the Central government has given a go-ahead to the DRDO to produce an Indian version of the implant,'' Dr Naik said. Advanced Bionics which is now supplying the 16-electrodes cochlear implant to India is developing a more advanced implant with 160 electrodes.

''The implant will enable birth-deaf people to hear music apart from normal sounds and will be available in the market once the Food and Drugs Administration of USA clears it,'' said Christopher Zimmer, Export Manager (Asia and Europe) of the firm.

How cochlear implant works? There are two parts of cochlear implant. One is the 'the implant' that is fitted in the bone behind the ear. The other is a speech processor that is either fitted behind the ear or fitted with the help of belt in the chest— this is an outside device which is switched on after four weeks of the surgery. The electrodes—thin platinum wires that emanate from the implant and go to the ear through the bone— work as the carriers of signals. After the surgery, the mapping of the function of the implant is done to find out the decible gained after the implant is placed. When the speech processor is switched on, only then will the child be able to learn and understand the sound.

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