The Chief Medical Director, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja, Prof. Adewale Oke, has said that 5000 babies are born every year with ear defects in Nigeria.
Mr. Oke made the disclosure on Saturday in Lagos, while briefing newsmen on the hospital’s first successful middle ear implant surgery conducted in its premises.
“I know that 5, 000 new babies are being born annually in Nigeria with ear defects.
“This means they are deaf and sometimes the cause of their deafness is congenital, we call it from birth.
“Some of these babies lacked some hearing mechanism in their ears, so the best way to restore the hearing is through surgery, which has not been part of the practice before now.
“With this new innovative surgery, the person whose hearing is impaired will be able to hear and the noble thing is that the surgery is still new in Africa,’’ he said.
Mr. Oke said that the surgery to correct deafness was called “Bone-bridge’’, and helped to open up the middle ear of the patient.
“This surgery is first of its kind and I must commend the organisation (MED EL) that deemed it fit to have the operation done in LASUTH. The organisation came on its own volition.
“They brought the device and identified patients that can afford it; they did two implants and one surgery of Bone-bridge. This is highly commendable.
“The surgery does not come with any side effect, the implants are bonelike small microchips inserted into the ears, and the only challenge is that the patient will be taught how to talk.
“Learning speech is because the person has not spoken before, so he will require the aid of a speech therapist and audiologist,’’ he said.
Mr. Oke said the organisation that brought the experts had trained many of the indigenous doctors on the post-surgery requirements to enable them to continue with the innovation.
“LASUTH is happy to have recorded such a feat again; this has spelt our vision toward the provision of quality healthcare to our people,’’ he said.
In his remarks, Dr. Vincent Adekoya, the Head of Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Department, said the project was to help many people regain their hearing.
“The surgery will afford people with severe hearing loss to hear again. The surgery is for all ages, especially from seven month-old baby and above.
“It is important to note that early detection can also save cost because the hearing loss may be due to non-opening of the middle ear, which a surgery will help to correct,’’ he said.
Also speaking, Mohammed El Disouky, the Africa Development and Regional Manager of MED EL, said the company had been in the field of producing talking and hearing implant for the last 30 years in Europe.
“Implant is for those people that hearing aids is not working, especially for children born deaf because of the degeneration of the ear.
“In Nigeria, we found out that the population of people is large, which I think MED EL has comprehensive solution for,’’ Mr. El Disouky said.