The window to hearing preservation cochlear implantation

The window to hearing preservation cochlear implantation

I was recently privileged to attend a most prestigious window approach workshop cochlear implantation course in Poland. Window in this context refers to the round window membrane of the inner ear although it can also be seen in a philosophical way as a window of opportunity to preserve residual hearing. This 30th workshop was again organized in the World Hearing Center of the Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing in Kajetany, Poland. With the help of MED-EL company the Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing has now hosted 30 courses since 2007.

The course leader, Professor Henryk Skarzynski, a very experienced and renowned cochlear implant (CI) surgeon has developed and mastered a specific technique of CI surgery. This technique focuses on the approach to the round window of the inner ear and aims to cause as little surgical trauma as possible during implantation of the CI through the round window. Reducing trauma to the inner ear increases the possibility to preserve residual hearing in patients. Simply put it means that cochlear implantation can be safely performed in patients who can still hear with the ear, preserving the residual hearing!

The window to hearing preservation cochlear implantation
The finest cochlear implant in the world

Excellent results with hearing preservation CI surgery is a combination of very precise, careful surgical technique and a very delicate CI device. MED-EL is the world leader in fine structure CI devices, currently manufacturing the most delicate and finest CI in the world. By improving on the magnet design the cochlear implants from MED-EL can also now withstand MRI machines with strong currents up to 3 Tesla, the only on the world market to do so without having to remove the magnet before the MRI.

With progress and growth in the fields of audiology and ear surgery, nearly all patients with hearing problems, from mild hearing loss to complete deafness can now be helped. During the course Prof Skarzynski and his team shared their experience, surgical technique and knowledge of all the different middle ear and CI technology from MED-EL with the 14 participants. I was fortunate to be the only participant from Africa on this course and I intend to help deaf and partially deaf people to return to the world of sound.