Source : Taiwan Healthcare+
Published : 2018-06-11
Since 2004, the Cheng Hsin Hospital cochlear implant team has completed nearly 500 cochlear implantations for patients from Taiwan and other countries. The team has achieved an almost perfect track record of zero infections, zero complications, and preserved nearly 100% residual hearing. Taiwan possesses more competitive medical data and relatively lower medical cost, presenting an excellent choice for international patients.
Each year, approximately 200,000 babies are born with hearing impairment worldwide. The Cheng Hsin Medical Center for Hearing Loss screens over 1,000 newborns each year by providing services including hearing tests, electrophysiological response of auditory pathway, hearing aids selection, preoperative evaluation and postoperative mapping for cochlear implantation, speech evaluation, and speech therapy for both children and adults. From diagnosis to implantation, to postoperative hearing and speech rehabilitation, Cheng Hsin General Hospital provides the complete service. Dr. Lieber Po-Hung Li, head of the Department of Otolaryngology at Cheng Hsin General Hospital, pointed out that 4-6 years of age is the critical period for children in music and language learning. The cochlear implant should be implanted as soon as possible and can be done as early as 6 months of age, since the earlier babies with hearing impairment are treated, the better chance their speech can approach that of normal children.
Since 2004, the Cheng Hsin Hospital cochlear implant team has completed nearly 500 cochlear implantations for patients from Taiwan and other countries. The team has achieved an almost perfect track record of zero infections, zero complications, and preserved nearly 100% residual hearing. For this, the team has been awarded the Taiwan Symbol of National Quality for 6 years in a row. Those who receive cochlear implants are split into two major demographics. One is middle-aged to senior patients who generally have a high chance of recovery and short rehabilitation period after surgery. The other is children and newborns with hearing impairment, who require a longer period of speech and hearing rehabilitation.
Cheng Hsin General Hospital established the first Medical Center for Hearing Loss in Taiwan and, in the same year, pioneered the cochlear implant surgery with the world’s smallest incision at 2.5 cm. While normal cochlear implantations require an incision of 6 ~ 10 cm, a 2.5 cm incision reduces a lot of pain for patients, especially infants, and saves them the energy for the hearing and speech rehabilitation that follows. In addition, the team was the first in the world to switch on the cochlear implant 24 hours post-surgery instead of 1 month. Patients can begin activation and mapping the day after implantation, sparing them the hassle of traveling to and from the hospital and speeding up the rehabilitation process. These two technologies were the firsts in the world and have been published multiple times in SCI journals, earning the approval of the international academic community.
Currently, there are three major cochlear implant teams located in Saudi Arabia (King Saud University Hospital), Germany (Charité-Universitäts Medizi), and Poland (World Hearing Center) that perform implantations for international patients. Cheng Hsin General Hospital has performed cochlear implantations for nearly 250 foreign patients, accounting for approximately half of the total cochlear implantations at Cheng Hsin. With over 10 years of experience and research, the team has found that musical training can improve the tone sensitivity in children with prelingual hearing loss and cochlear implants. The findings were reported by the international media. Meanwhile, the hospital continues to strive toward becoming Asia-Pacific’s center for cochlear implants. Compared to Japan and Korea, Taiwan possesses more competitive medical data and relatively lower medical cost, presenting an excellent choice for international patients.
(Editing by Nicole Yang, Research Center for Biotechnology and Medicine Policy)
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