Cochlear implant 30th anniversary 

20/09/2012 00:00 

The oldest implant programme in the country for deaf patients is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a special event at the Royal Society of Medicine.
 

Professor Shakeel Saeed, Wanda Aleksy, cochlear implant coordinator/hearing therapist and Dr Jeremy Lavy


A high-flying city worker left in a profoundly still world after suddenly loosing his hearing; a mother unable to listen to her child’s first words; a 90-year-old cut off in a world of silence.
 
The lives of 1,000 patients have been transformed by the cochlear implant programme since the pioneering operation was first performed in the programme (at the Royal National, Throat Nose and Ear Hospital) 30 years ago.
 
In 2012 – its 30th anniversary – it remains a European leader and on October 2 is celebrating with an event at the Royal Society of Medicine.
 
A cochlear implant device helps improve the hearing abilities of many profoundly or totally deaf people by electrically stimulating the auditory nerve directly, bypassing the damaged cells in the inner ear.
 
A microphone worn on the outer ear picks up sounds and sends electrical impulses to a sophisticated sound processor which modifies the signal and returns it to a transmitter. This is picked up by a receiver in the skull, converted to electrical signals and sent to electrodes inserted inside the cochlea.


 
Consultant surgeon and programme director Jeremy Lavy said: “The majority of patients are incredibly happy because you have restored their hearing. Getting up for work every morning is easy – the job is enormously satisfying because you can make a material difference to people’s lives.
 
“Research is constantly developing and the future of hearing implants will lead to amazing outcomes for the next generation of patients. We are on the threshold of offering so, so much more.”
 
Professor Shakeel Saeed, director of cochlear implant research, said:"Cochlear implantation is one of the best examples of multidisciplinary healthcare provision drawing on a wide range of professionals. The pace of technological development is relentless and through close collaboration with UCL Ear Institute and UCL Partners this programme is at the forefront of clinical and discovery science research in this field."

 

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