Location: North West England
Going deaf can be one of the most debilitating conditions for a person to go through and many take hearing for granted but a new transplant could be an effective way to cure deafness.
Now researchers have found that a cochlear implant is a safe and successful way of a person regaining their hearing which they may have lost as a consequence of transplant-related drugs. Doctors and those in audiology jobs have now been made aware that antibiotics and immunosuppressive drugs used after organ surgery can cause deafness, however researchers have developed cochlear implants that can help the affects caused by this medication.
In the UK there is an estimated nine million people which suffer hearing problems with the Department of Health reporting that on March 31st 2004 there were 55,000 people were registered as deaf.
Antibiotics can destroy a number of dark cells in the ear which contribute to producing a fluid which helps a person hear. These drugs can interfere with the metabolic cells thus reducing the amount of fluid they produce and therefore impairing a patient's hearing. However, people that have the cochlear implants receive a vaccination which bolsters the immune system.
Dr. Brian J. McKinnon, otologist and neurotologist at the centre, said: "When you destroy the ability to make fluid, the system no longer functions. If you do make the immune system work better, they may reject their organ."
Despite this only a handful of organ transplant patients have gotten these cochlear implants before heading into surgery. The team at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Health Sciences University conducted the study on a 50-year-old man who, after organ transplant surgery, experienced hearing loss for six weeks. He received a cochlear implant seven months after his operation and 75 per cent of his hearing returned 14 months later.
Dr McKinnon, otologist and neurotologist at the centre, added: "This study adds to the growing evidence that successful cochlear implantation can be achieved in appropriately selected renal transplant patients."
written by Angela Newbury
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