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May 23, 2005

Cochlear Implants For Kids

From: WFMY News 2, NC - May 23, 2005

Sounds of birds chirping, car horns and a mother's voice might not be lost forever to a deaf child. A cochlear implant might help.

Winston-Salem, NC -- A cochlear implant is device implanted in the inner ear to restore hearing.

Dr. Dan Kirse, a pediatric otolaryngologist at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center says, "It allows children with significant hearing loss to regain the ability to interact with the auditory world."

Candidates are children who are deaf in both ears, from birth or sometime later. These are children with not enough residual hearing to gain any benefit from the amplification of hearing aids. Children can be as young as one year, but generally they are 3 to 4.

"When we first activate the cochlear implant, especially on a child who's never perceived sound before, it can be a scary experience for them, but after a while, they actually learn to like the stimulation, and eventually we hope these children will be able to interact with the hearing world, and even get as far as being able to talk on the telephone."

Wake Forest Baptist has recently expanded its cochlear implant program to include children.

The majority of children with hearing loss will respond to hearing aids and will not need to proceed to a cochlear implant.

WFMY News 2

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