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New Latin American Spanish Version of LittlEARS Auditory Questionnaire Launched at CI2009

Comprehensive assessment tool for infants and toddlers expands BRIDGE to Better Communication Program

 June 17, 2009 - (Durham, NC) - The MED-EL Corporation today announced the launch of a Spanish version of LittlEars® Auditory Questionnaire at the CI2009 12th Symposium on Cochlear Implants in Children in Seattle, WA. The tool was adapted specifically for use in the United States and Latin America.

"Rehabilitation efforts can be complicated by language barriers," said Darla Franz, MA CCC-A, Director of Education and Corporate Communications at MED-EL North America. "We're pleased to offer this new resource to both rehabilitation specialists and families of Spanish-speaking children with profound hearing loss in the United States and Latin America. This measure allows English-speaking professionals to more accurately assess listening progress for Spanish-speaking children and their families."

The LittlEARS Auditory Questionnaire is a parent questionnaire that evaluates auditory behaviors that are observable as a reaction to acoustic stimuli. This questionnaire is designed to assess preverbal auditory development in very young children. The tool is intended to follow the auditory development of children after newborn hearing screening from birth to 24 months of age; or hearing impaired children with cochlear implants or hearing aids with a hearing age (time after first fitting) of 0-24 months.

The questionnaire consists of 35 questions, which can be completed by the parents in approximately 10 minutes.

The development of a test for parents of Latin American background is of particular interest in urban areas states such as New York, Texas, Florida and California. Jaclyn B. Spitzer, Ph.D., and Jorge S. Zavala, Au.D. from Columbia University, together with the MED-EL Corporation, instituted a descriptive study to translate and collect normative data in Latin American Spanish with the US English version of the LittlEARS® Auditory Questionnaire. The questionnaire was translated to Spanish by Spitzer and Zavala.

Fifty parents of children younger than two years of age participated in the normative data study. They were Spanish monolingual, or Spanish fluency bilingual. National origin of the participants included: 30 (60%) from the Dominican Republic; 11 (22%) from Mexico; 3 (6%) from Ecuador; 1 (2%) from Honduras; and, 4 (8%) United States. Twenty-two (44%) of the parents identified themselves as bilingual.

In the United States, clinicians in many areas will find this Spanish translation of the LittlEARS Auditory Questionnaire to be invaluable as they work with families who are not native English speakers - a growing population in the United States. Parents will be able to assess the preverbal auditory development of their very young child both pre- and post cochlear implantation and compare the results with the same development in young children with normal hearing. Most importantly, this measure will support a more fair assessment of a child's progress with developing audition than ever before.

The LittlEARS Auditory Questionnaire is available in the following languages: English (US), English (UK), Spanish (US), Bosnian, Bulgarian, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Mandarin, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Tagalog and Turkish.

About BRIDGE to Better Communication

BRIDGE to Better Communication is a comprehensive support program that MED-EL has developed in cooperation with leading experts worldwide. The program is designed especially for hearing loss professionals, schools, cochlear implant users and parents to help close the gap between implantation and the development of improved listening skills and spoken communication. It consists of a wide variety of products, resources and materials for adult and pediatric habilitation, assessment, and device management. This process begins with identifying the implant user's current skills, setting realistic expectations and goals, ensuring the best possible device function, and improving communication skills each day. A variety of habilitation materials can help guide and motivate both the user and the professional toward achieving the best possible communicative competence. MED-EL launched BRIDGE to Better Communication, in April 2007.

About MED-EL Corporation

Since its founders developed one of the world's first cochlear implants in 1975, MED-EL has set new standards in hearing implant technologies, developing and manufacturing technologically advanced hearing solutions for people with varying degrees of hearing loss. MED-EL hearing implant systems, currently used in 80 countries, combine the latest scientific advances, engineering and manufacturing techniques for performance, safety and reliability. MED-EL offers the broadest portfolio of hearing implant systems, including the MAESTRO Cochlear Implant system for those with severe-to-profound sensorineural hearing loss and the unique Vibrant Soundbridge®, a middle ear prosthesis for the treatment of moderate to severe sensorineural hearing loss. For more information, visit www.medel.com or call 888-MED-EL-CI (633-3524).

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