Martins Ifijeh
The Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), has successfully performed cochlear implant surgeries on 10 patients.

Revealing this at a press briefing earlier in the week, the Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Prof. Wale Oke said the patients who were recuperating in the ward, can now hear clearly, adding that the Lagos State government paid N70 million to the hospital for the surgery.

While optimistic that the patients can live a normal life now, the CMD added that they will be sent to speech therapists to help them in speaking.

He said the hospital hopes to restore hearing to more as it now has necessary infrastructure and expertise. “This is the first time that a hospital in Nigeria has done this number of surgeries to restore hearing,” he said.

Head, LASUTH Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) department, Dr. Vincent Adekoya, said cochlea implant surgery was carried out on the patients because they have hearing loss, which could not be addressed by hearing aids.

He said the cochlea implant will pick sound through its microphone in the audio processor, adding that the audio processor analysis and codes sounds into a special pattern of digital information.

“This information is sent and transmitted across the skin to the implant. The implant interprets the code and sends electrical pulses to the electrodes in the cochlea. The auditory nerve picks up the signals and sends them to the auditory centre in the brain. The brain recognises these signals as sounds or hearing,” Adekoya said.

He said hearing loss can be as a result of congenital problems, such as chromosomal abnormalities (mutations and inherited problems), diseases associated with prenatal infection, maternal drug abuse and environmental factors.

An ENT consultant at the hospital, Dr. Adeyinka Adesegun recommended neonatal screening.
“The best time to screen babies for hearing is the first day up to the third month. And this can be done till the sixth months and one year before people can conclude that a child is actually deaf,” he said.