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May 30, 2005

Cochlear waiting list to be alleviated

From: Irish Health - Ireland - May 30, 2005

By Deborah Condon

The current waiting list for cochlear implants is set to be alleviated, the Health Service Executive (HSE) has announced. It has approved additional funding of €500,000 for 2005 to deal with this.

Cochlear implants are artificial devices that are inserted into the spiral cavity of the inner ear - the cochlea. They are only used on profoundly deaf people.

The implants do not fully restore the perception of sound to normal levels. However they do allow users to monitor their own voices. They also provide people with a better awareness of sounds around them and help them to follow conversations better with the help of lip reading.

As a result, the implants can facilitate the development of spoken language in a child, who would not have had this opportunity with conventional hearing aids.

The National Cochlear Implant Programme is located in Dublin's Beaumont Hospital - it is the only hospital in the country which can perform this procedure. According to the HSE, the additional funding of €500,000 for 2005 will alleviate the current waiting list there.

Commenting on the funding, the hospital's chief executive, Liam Duffy, said that it will allow for the treatment of an additional five children and 10 adults this year. It will also allow for the purchase of equipment used in the assessment of young children.

Health Minister Mary Harney meanwhile welcomed the funding allocation and also commended the work of the director of the cochlear programme, Dr Laura Viani.

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