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100Th Child Benefits From Hearing Device Programme

The West of England Cochlear Implant Programme has celebrated its 100th paediatric implant. The landmark was achieved when Leanne Derrick from Hartcliffe had her implant fitted at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children.

Children and adults with profound deafness may benefit from a cochlear implant, which uses an external microphone, speech processor and transmitter coil to pick up sounds, convert them into electrical signals and send them to electrodes placed inside the cochlea or inner ear.

The electrodes perform the role of damaged cells in the cochlea and send electrical messages to the brain, which adjusts to recognise these messages as sounds.

The West of England Cochlear Implant programme is a joint venture between Southmead Hospital and Bristol Royal Hospital for Children. The first adult was implanted in 1995 and the first child in 1997.

To date, the programme as a whole has fitted more than 250 implants in adults and children from all over the south west, but 11-year-old Leanne was the 100th child.

Leanne was born with a hearing loss, but was able to use conventional hearing aids to learn to talk. Unfortunately her hearing got worse and so it was felt that she would get more benefit from a cochlear implant.

Mr Robinson, Ear, Nose and Throat Consultant said: "This is a wonderful milestone for the West of England Cochlear Implant Programme."

Note to editors:

Photos of Leanne Derrick are available to the media.
For more information call the University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust press office on 0117 342 3718