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Grant for Hearing

3/6/2007- Mid-Michigan children will be able to receive treatment for their cochlear implants at CMU as a result of a new $293,969 grant from The Carls Foundation.

University officials plan to open the CMU Children's Cochlear Implant Center as early as this summer in the Carls Center for Clinical Care and Education at The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow College of Health Professions.

The new center will provide more convenient service for children in northern and mid-Michigan who now must travel to centers in southern Michigan for checkups after the first year of cochlear implantation, said Gerald Church, CMU's director of audiology.

A portion of the rehabilitation services will involve audiologists and doctoral students visiting schools and observing how children fare with their implants, as well as providing support for families and teachers.

"It's going to be great training for our students," Church said. "It allows the students to see the entire rehabilitation process, including how they do in the classroom."

A cochlear implant is an electronic device that can restore useful hearing and provide improved communication abilities for persons who have profound hearing loss in both ears. There are more than 21,000 children and adults worldwide who use cochlear implants, according to the University of Michigan Medical Center.

CMU representatives are planning to form partnerships with pediatric cochlear implant centers in southern Michigan and offer clinical assistance in treating patients beginning one year after they receive the implant. The patients need frequent checkups to monitor how well the implants are functioning, and occasionally an audiologist must adjust the device.

The three-year grant will fund a full-time audiologist position with a specialty in cochlear implants, along with marketing and equipment costs.

The grant from the Detroit-based foundation also will be used to build a $33,600 gazebo outside the CMU Health Professions Building for Summer Speech Language Specialty Clinic classes and for $10,000 in student scholarships.

The Carls Foundation was the major donor to the Carls Center for Clinical Care and Education.

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