Red Cross Hospital Launch Bone Anchored Hearing Aid Programme
The Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital launchded its Bone Anchored Hearing Aid programme on 31 October 2013 when four children were fitted with the device that enabled them to have near-normal hearing.
Western Cape Minister of Health, Theuns Botha, said: “Providing support to children with disabilities that can improve their opportunities in life, is the vision of our government.”
Bone anchored hearing aids are given to people who have an intact and functioning cochlea but have hearing difficulties because the sound cannot reach the cochlea.
Dr Estie Meyer, an Ear Specialist in the Ear Nose and Throat department, explains: “If a patient has ear canals that are too narrow, is born without ear canals or has an external ear deformity and cannot be fitted with a normal hearing aid, a bone anchored hearing aid should be considered."
There are two main parts to the bone anchored hearing aid: the titanium implant and the sound processor that clips onto it. In adults the bone anchored hearing aids are surgically fitted to the skull to channel sound to the inner ear. In children the hearing aids can only be surgically fitted at about nine years old, but until then the sound processor can be fitted with a headband.
“The titanium implant does not integrate well into the bone before then,” Dr Meyer, said. “The hospital has made funding available for four sound processors to be fitted.”
Currently about six to eight children need this type of assistive listening device annually. These children will only be able to receive their sound processors when funding becomes available. One sound processor costs approximately R25 000.
Among the children who will get the sound processor this year is one-year-old Mpilontle Maso. Mpilontle, was born with microtia in both ears, which means she has no ear canals.
Mpilontle was referred to the hospital by an ENT specialist in private practise when she was one month old. The family are from Umtata, Eastern Cape, and have to commute to the hospital for follow-up appointments.
“When she is wearing the sound processor she will be able to hear the sounds around her including her family's voices,” said Dr Meyer. “The ENT team look forward to assisting our children who are our future to start their most important developing years being able to hear.”
Communications Officer: Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital
Western Cape Government Health
Tel: 021 658 5448
Fax: 086 622 3099