A toddler who was born deaf might eventually be able to hear for the first time, assuming all goes well with the surgical procedure that implanted a device on the boy’s brain stem. After all, this is considered to be the next step up just in case a cochlear implant fails to work. The entire operation took approximately half a dozen hours to complete, where surgeons at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles ended up inserting this device successfully in the boy’s brain stem.
This operation is a pioneering one in the sense of the word, since it is the first of its kind in a clinical trial that is supported by the National Institutes of Health. It could eventually help set a precedent for the safety and efficacy of a surgery which has been performed for years abroad, but is viewed upon as being risky by certain quarters in the U.S. Right now, this operation is led by researchers from the House Clinic in Los Angeles and USC.
The earlier cochlea implant failed, but at least we can keep our fingers crossed that this lively 3-year old will eventually be able to hear thanks to this brain stem implant. Granted, it comes with its fair share of risks as well, but to be able to listen is a gift that everyone should take seriously.