Through his mission work for Hearing Help for Africa, J. Douglas Green Jr., MD, founder of Jacksonville Hearing & Balance Institute (JHBI)/The Hearing Center, has been instrumental in developing the West Africa Training Centre for Cochlear Implants along with the West Africa Post-Graduate College of Surgeons located at Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH). The Centre is designated for the training of doctors on cochlear implants.
People who face severe or profound hearing loss now have an option to possibly restore hearing – sometimes for the first time – with a Cochlear implant. A representative from Cochlear Americas, a leading international vendor for cochlear implants, provided a representative, Brandy Harvey, to join along with JHBI staff and Dr. and Mrs. Green on this latest trip to Jos.
Understanding there is no cure for hearing loss, these implants are internationally and nationally recognized as an established treatment for patients with this diagnosis.
It’s well known that implants can:
- Improve auditory awareness of sounds at levels within the normal range of hearing
- Improve speech and language skills
- Improve quality of life
- Improve employment opportunities
In Africa, severe hearing loss may cause a devastating loss of employment, a huge economic issue for the person who experiences it as well as their family, especially if the person is the breadwinner. This new Centre will allow more individuals to receive a cochlear implant as a gift of hearing and a way to find a higher, more meaningful quality of life.
The cochlear implant has an external sound processor joined magnetically with an implantable device. The electronic medical device is surgically placed underneath the skin above the cranium bone. It is attached to an electrode that’s inserted into the inner ear or cochlear. The device is “connected” when the external sound processor on the outside of the head is “connected” (magnet) to the implantable device, which uses acoustic amplification of the natural low-frequency hearing the patient may have after surgery as it restors access to the high frequency sounds previously missed without the device connected. These implants are designed to replace “the function of the damaged sensory hair cells in the inner ear and mimic natural hearing to provide a clearer sound that what hearing aids can provide”1 and then sends these sound signals to the brain to be processed. Cochlear implants are not hearing aids; instead, they help to restore a way for the brain to hear and process sounds.
Adeyi Adoga, MD, head of the ENT department at JUTH and long-time friend of the Green family, gave his personal and professional support to advancing medical education to young Nigerian ENT physicians can learn about the processes of temporal bone dissection.
Joining Dr. Green was Jacksonville Hearing & Balance/The Hearing Center staff member Elizabeth Selle, AuD, CCC-A, who will coordinate the live feed back in Jacksonville during which the patients who underwent cochlear implant surgery will have their implants “turned on” or the external magnetic piece attached with the sincere hope to restore a level of hearing to the severely hearing impaired. This takes place in approximately two week post-surgery.
Dr. Green continues to broaden his vision to provide the gift of sight to children and adults in Nigeria through Hearing Help In Africa.
For more information on this mission-based organization and how you can help, please go to http://www.HearingHelpForAfrica.org
1 Cochlear Americas