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HEAR became involved in the Cochlear Implant Programme at Manchester Royal Infirmary and the University of Manchester,Manchester,UK in 1998.

The cochlear implant(CI) is a device now in widespread use for the treatment of severe to profound deafness caused by loss of function of the inner ear or cochlear.The implanted component comprises a series of electrodes which are threaded into the cochlea and which deliver electrical stimuli to the auditory nerve in accordance with the predetermined coding strategy designed to reproduce as accurately as possible the patterns of speech.The sound processing takes place in an externally worn "speech processor"and the manipulated signal is delivered
to the implanted component through the intact skin on a radio frequency carrier wave.The patients who benefit from CI include those deaf adults who have lost their hearing after they learnt speech and spoken language,
perhaps from meningitis,skull fracture,drug toxicity,Meniere's disease or a number of other causes some unidentifiable.The greatest role for CI is in the child born deaf or deafened from disease before the acquisition of language.By introducing the child to speech by means of the implant, normal speech and language and education placement is usually possible, assuming the implant operation is performed at the earliest opportunity after the deafness is diagnosed.

Each multichannel device costs in the region of 15,000 and the additional costs of assessment,surgery and rehabilitation almost double this sum. HEAR financed the first implants in Manchester in the late 1980's and also funded the establishment of the rehabilitation team at that time. When the British Department of Health took over the funding of cochlear implants in the UK in the early 1990's, HEAR continued to support the programme notably by refurbishing a small residential unit,Kinder House, at Manchester Royal Infirmary where children who have been implanted can stay with their parents,either immediately after surgery,or when attending for rehabilitation sessions.

Up to the present(September 1998)the Manchester programme has implanted approximately 160 adults and 90 children.

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