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First Hybrid Cochlear Implant May Assist Those with High Frequency Hearing Loss

Number of People Benefiting is Expected to Double

PALO ALTO, CA - December 2003 -
Arthur Gardner, who is losing his hearing, will become the first person in California to be surgically implanted with a new category of cochlear implant technology that appears to assist those who need more than a traditional hearing aid. Roughly 1.25 Million, or one in 200 Americans, could benefit from this surgery.

The surgery will be performed by Joseph Roberson, MD, CEO of the California Ear Institute at the Stanford University Hospital on December 8, 2003.

The Cochlear Nucleus Hybrid' cochlear implant is currently undergoing FDA sanctioned investigational trials and is designed for patients with high frequency hearing loss who do not benefit sufficiently from hearing aids. With the development of Cochlear Nucleus Hybrid hearing technology, the number of people who will benefit from cochlear implantation is expected to double.

"We are encouraged to take part in these investigational trials," said Joseph Roberson, M.D., California Ear Institute. "The Hybrid device is proving to be a highly effective treatment to those patients with hearing loss too severe to allow the effective use of hearing aids but too good for standard cochlear implants."

With this technology, the recipient, 56, from Danville, CA, wears both a Phonak in-the-ear (ITE) digital hearing aid and the Cochlear Nucleus Hybrid cochlear implant with its integral speech processor and microphone. These technologies are applied in concert to the same ear to improve sound perception for patients capturing the unique and distinct advantages of conventional digital amplification and electrical stimulation of the auditory system.

Arthur Gardner's Story

Arthur Gardner lost his hearing at the age of 49. The cause was never identified but is believed to be genetic in origin. Although Arthur has relied upon the use of hearing aids alone, he has derived diminishing and now minimal benefit from their use. Currently, he depends primarily on email and other forms of written communication to communicate with those around him.

As vice president of sales at Dorfman Pacific, Arthur's responsibilities include attending trade shows, meetings, social engagements and telephone conversations, all of which have become increasingly difficulty due to his hearing loss. A desire to regain the ability to participate in these activities prompted him to explore options for improving his hearing such as cochlear implantation.

After discussing his options with Joseph Roberson, M.D., Arthur decided to participate in an investigational trial for the Cochlear Nucleus Hybrid implant. He is hoping that the device will help improve his ability to interact with his family and co-workers as well give him the confidence he has lacked due to his hearing loss.

About Cochlear Nucleus Hybrid Cochlear Implant Investigational Study

The study, consisting of up to 25 adults will be conducted in seven investigational sites. Participants will be studied over a two-year period and must have acquired their hearing loss after learning to speak. Additionally, candidates must meet hearing threshold and word recognition requirements, speak English as a primary language and must be 18 years of age or older at the time of implantation.

About California Ear Institute

The California Ear Institute is a world-renowned center for treatment of disorders of hearing, balance, and the cranial base. In its 35th year, CEI has offices in 3 Bay Area locations: San Ramon, San Jose, and Palo Alto, California. The Cochlear Implant Center at CEI has experience with over 1000 patients and has participated in all clinical trials in the expanding world of cochlear implants since their initial release for patients in the United States.

About Cochlear

Cochlear is the international market leader in cochlear implant technology. Since 1982, more than 50,000 people in 120 countries have received Nucleus cochlear implant systems, which are designed to help people with a severe to profound deafness to hear. Seven out of 10 recipients worldwide have a Nucleus device.

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