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Cochlear Implant most effective way to correct hearing impairments

Hearing loss is the third leading chronic disability following arthritis and hypertension in the USA to the World Health Organisation, over 275 million people globally have moderate-to-profound hearing impairment, 80% of them in low- and middle-income countries. Only limited information is available on developing regions, including Arab countries, where the prevalence is estimated to be markedly higher than in European or North American countries. Some cases of hearing loss can be treated with devices such as hearing aids and Cochlear Implants. However, the production of hearing aids meets less than 10% of global need. In developing countries, fewer than 1 out of 40 people who need a hearing aid have one.

More than 120 experts at the 9th Middle East Update in Otolaryngology Conference & Exhibition (Head and Neck Surgery) taking place on 22-24 April 2012 at the Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai will be discussing the prevalence of hearing impairment and deafness among the Arab populations and assessing the treatment options available for hearing loss, such as Cochlear Implantation.

According to Dr. Susan Waltzman, Co-Director of the NYU Cochlear Implant Center, NYU School of Medicine, NYU Langone Medical Centre, USA, and speakers at the Otolaryngology Conference & Exhibition, the Cochlear Implant is a modern medical marvel: “The majority of adult implant recipients can hear well enough to understand varying degrees of speech, talk on the telephone, be productive professionally, enjoy social interactions and, with some recent developments, even appreciate music. For children who receive cochlear implants at a young age, the auditory and language development benefits can lead to oral communication, language skills often on par with normal hearing peers, attendance in mainstream schools and good self-esteem and social interactions. While it is important to note that about 50% of children born with hearing loss often have additional disabilities, receiving a cochlear implant enables them to achieve their potential.”

Cochlear implant surgery is becoming more common in the region and is being offered in major government and private hospitals.  For example, the American Hospital Dubai is one of the centres of excellence offering audiological, speech and language support, both in English and Arabic.

Not all cases of hearing impairment are treated with Cochlear Implantation as how hearing impairment is treated depends on the underlying cause of the condition. As Dr. Waltzman explains, there are two types of hearing impairment: conductive hearing loss and sensorineural hearing loss, and some people have a combination of the two.

“Conductive hearing loss is caused by dysfunction of the apparatus that transmits sound from the outer ear to the inner ear. Sounds become fainter, as if the ear’s volume has been lowered. These conditions can typically be treated medically or corrected surgically. Hearing aids which amplify sound reaching the inner ear can also help. Sensorineural hearing loss usually stems from damage to the snail-shaped cochlea in the inner ear, particularly its hair cells. Hearing aids can offer benefit to people with mild-to-moderate hearing loss of this type; however, for those with severe-to-profound hearing loss, the best remedy is cochlear implantation,” says Dr. Waltzman.

The Otolaryngology Conference & Exhibition is sponsored by Karl Storz, GSK, Medtronic, MSD, American Hospital Dubai and Amico and will feature 40 exhibiting companies showcasing a range of ENT services and products from the Middle East.

For more information on the Otolaryngology Conference & Exhibition, please visit or