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September 1, 2005

Hear, hear, implant trial's a success

From: Electric New Paper, Singapore - Sept 1, 2005

By Ng Wan Ching
01 September 2005

IF your baby is born with a hearing problem, listen to this.

There is a 90 per cent chance that he will be able to attend a normal school and interact with his hearing friends and teachers.

The reason: cochlear implants and the impressive results they have produced in a trial.

The Ministry of Health's Health Service Development Programme funded the trial, which began in 2001.

The four-year trial, involving over 50 children, ended in March.

The results indicated that after implantation, there is potential for up to 90 per cent of them to be successfully integrated into mainstream education.

Some 33 of these children are either already in or will be in mainstream kindergartens, pre-schools and schools.


This is mentioned in a speech that Dr Mohamad Maliki Osman, parliamentary secretary for Health and Community Development, Youth and Sports, is to make this morning at the official opening of the NKF-SGH Centre for Hearing and Cochlear Implants.

The event also marks Singapore General Hospital's 223rd cochlear implantation.

Dr Maliki says that with a little understanding and patience from teachers and classmates in the mainstream environment, these children will be able to follow lessons, and perform as well as their normal peers.

The NKF-SGH Centre for Hearing and Cochlear Implants has a dedicated one-stop facility to provide holistic care to hearing-impaired children.

There, family members, friends, teachers and colleagues can hear and experience sounds as they are heard by a hearing-impaired individual.


This is to help them fully appreciate the difficulties and problems faced by a hearing-impaired person.

The centre will also look after patients and their families' social and financial needs.

There is good news for adults too.

Of the 12 adult patients who were also studied in the trial, 10 achieved significant improvement in speech perception after implantation.

Seven patients were unemployed before the implantation because of their deafness. After receiving the cochlear implants, five of them are gainfully employed.

As for the future of government funding for cochlear implants, details are now being worked out and more will be announced in the next few months.

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