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February 25th is World Cochlear Implant Day, a tool that allows us to rehabilitate adults and children suffering from profound deafness.

At the Otolaryngology/Audiology Operational Unit of the University Hospital of Ferrara – guided by the prof. Stefano Pelucchi – to date, over 1,000 cochlear implant placement operations have been carried out. The team – which takes care of the pre-intervention process, the intervention and then the rehabilitation and follow-up of the patients – is made up of medical personnel (Dr. Michela Borin, Dr. Nicola Malagutti, Prof. Andrea Ciorba) and technician (doctors Valentina Carrieri, Laura Negossi, Alessandra Cavallari, Bertilla Zerbinati, Antonella Berselli, Ilaria Piccolo, Federica Minazzi and Nicoletta De Luca).

Currently, both pediatric and adult patients with unilateral or bilateral cochlear implants, coming from both the Emilia-Romagna region and the rest of Italy, are under regular follow-up. The Cochlear Implantology program has been active in Ferrara for many years and the Department is among the reference centers in our region and among the few that perform bilateral and simultaneous cochlear implantation in children. Furthermore, osteointegrated prostheses are also regularly implanted for adult patients for the treatment of mixed-type deafness (in Ferrara last year the implantation of an ‘Osia’ type osteointegrated system was performed for the first time in Emilia-Romagna ).

THE COCHLEAR IMPLANT, or “bionic ear,” is an electronic device that transforms everyday sounds into coded electrical impulses and directly transmits the electrical signal to the fibers of the auditory nerve. The bionic ear is a complex and highly technological device made up of an internal part (implanted under the skin of the skull and made up of the receiver/stimulator) equipped with an electrode holder wire that directly reaches the inner ear. The external part is made up of a processor, which allows language and sounds to be processed. The external processor’s microphones capture sounds from the environment and transmit them to the processor, which analyzes and digitizes them into coded signals to be sent directly to the inner ear. The impulses thus reach the brain and are interpreted as speech or sounds.

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“The celebration of this anniversary – declares the professor. Lint – underlines how medical progress, together with technology, is fundamental to the fight against deafness and therefore to improve the quality of life of patients. According to data from the American National Institute on Deafness and other communication disorders, around the world there are more than 700,000 people who use Today the Cochlear Implant and, every year, around 50,000 implants are applied worldwide, of which over 1,000 in Italy. In Europe, ad today, it is estimated that over 150,000 people use cochlear implants, of which approximately 60% are adult users and 40% are children.”

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