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First Pediatric Bilateral Cochlear Implant Recipients at Dallas Otolaryngology Associates

DALLAS - January 2003 - Twelve-year-old Victoria Reuling, of Keller, TX, and eight-year-old Michaelyn Wiggins, of Midlothian, TX, recently became the first children in the nation to receive two Cochlear Nucleus cochlear implants as part of a sequential pediatric bilateral study at Dallas Otolaryngology Associates. The study is being conducted to determine the advantages of cochlear implantation in both ears compared to cochlear implantation in just one ear in children. Bilateral cochlear implantation may offer recipients an increased ability to locate the source of various environmental sounds and improve their understanding of speech in background noise.

"Bilateral cochlear implantation in children is an area that, to date, has not been widely explored," said Robert Peters, M.D., Dallas Otolaryngology Associates. "Yet, the benefit that could potentially be derived from two cochlear implants rather than just one could have a profound impact on a child's speech development."

Victoria's story

Victoria came to the United States in 1991 when she was adopted by the Reulings at the age of six months. Due to poor medical record keeping in Romania, the cause and age at which Victoria lost her hearing remains unknown.
Although Victoria relied upon the use of hearing aids, she derived minimal benefit. Wanting to provide her child with the most opportunity to develop speech, Peggy Reuling, Victoria's mother, began to explore cochlear implantation for her daughter.

Victoria received a Cochlear Nucleus 22 in 1995 and made tremendous strides with her new implant. Within a few weeks of her first programming, she was able to detect speech. Observing the progress Victoria made with one implant, Peggy decided to enroll Victoria in the pediatric bilateral study when presented with the opportunity. Robert Peters, M.D, surgically implanted Victoria with a Cochlear Nucleus 24 Contour' on December 23, 2002. Her device was activated on January 20, 2002, allowing her to hear out of both ears for the first time.

Michaelyn's story

Michaelyn was diagnosed with a profound hearing loss at birth through newborn hearing screening. The cause was never identified. Since she was diagnosed, Michaelyn has relied on hearing aids and FM systems, although she derived minimal benefit. She has also received auditory verbal therapy since she was 17 months old.

When her progress began to plateau and all other options for hearing had been exhausted, the Wiggins began to explore cochlear implantation for Michaelyn. Michaelyn received a Cochlear Nucleus 24 cochlear implant in August of 1999. Since that time, she has made tremendous progress with her implant. Michaelyn has not only broadened her vocabulary, become more social and aware of conversations and improved her speech, but she has also been mainstreamed in a regular classroom with no modifications.

Wanting to provide Michaelyn with the opportunity to hear out of both ears and advance her speech even further, the Wiggins decided to enroll Michaelyn in the pediatric bilateral study. Robert Peters, M.D., surgically implanted Michaelyn with a Cochlear Nucleus 24 Contour on November 20, 2002. When her device was turned on for the first time on December 18, 2002, Michealyn began to hear the world through both ears.

About Pediatric Sequential Bilateral Studies

The study, consisting of up to 50 children between the ages of three to 13, will be conducted in 20 to 25 investigational sites. Children will be studied over a one to two year period and must have at least six months of unilateral implant experience and a severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss in the ear to be implanted. Additionally, the child must have received their first implant prior to the age of five and be in a habilitation/educational program with an emphasis on spoken language development.

About Dallas Otolaryngology Associates

Dallas Otolaryngology Associates, based in Dallas, TX, was founded in 1975. The Dallas Otolaryngology Cochlear Implant Program began in 1990. The cochlear implant team at Dallas Otolaryngology Associates consists of specialized professionals who provide the highest level of diagnostic, surgical and rehabilitative services in the area of cochlear implantation. The staff consists of an otologic surgeon, audiologist, speech-language pathologist, psychologist and aural rehabilitation therapist. For more information about the Dallas Otolaryngology Cochlear Implant team call (972) 566-7600 or visit www.dallascochlear.com.

For more information about Cochlear's products, call the Cochlear Nucleus Hotline at 800/458-4999 (Voice), or 800/483-3123 (TDD) or visit their Web site at www.cochlear.com.

For more information on Cochlear Americas click here.

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