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SEATTLE - (June 16, 2009) — For thousands of young children around the globe, cochlear implant advancements have dramatically changed their lives. A cochlear implant is an electronic device that provides a sense of sound to a person with profound hearing loss. Where once there was silence, young people with cochlear implants can now hear, learn language and develop speech unlike children with hearing loss only five years ago.

The Listen for Life Center at Virginia Mason is an international leader in helping children hear and will be the host of the 12th International Symposium on Cochlear Implants in Children, June 17 to 20 at the Sheraton Hotel in Seattle.

More than 800 health care professionals from all facets of hearing care will participate. The symposium's goal is to provide an environment to discuss current research on cochlear implants in children to provide direction for future research, education, clinical care and technological development.

"We are excited to host this vital symposium that will bring professionals together from around the world to share ideas and engineer the next breakthroughs in the treatment of children with hearing loss," said Douglas Backous, MD, FACS, course director for the symposium and medical director of The Listen for Life Center at Virginia Mason. "Above all, we will focus on ways we can better understand our peers' work and work together to advance care for all children."

The symposium will focus its scientific program in three areas:

  • Cochlear implants in the very young child. Some challenges facing professionals providing cochlear implants in very young children include testing methods used to determine hearing thresholds and candidacy. This area of emphasis will focus on recent research in this area.
  • Bilateral implantation in children. Researchers debate the best time to provide cochlear implants in both ears for children with deafness. This area of emphasis will discuss timing and appropriateness for children's bilateral cochlear implants.
  • Residual hearing/neural preservation after cochlear implants in children. Adult cochlear implant users have had increased hearing performance and sound quality when low-frequency hearing has been preserved. Experts in this topic area will discuss current research in neural preservation for children with cochlear implants.

About Virginia Mason Medical Center
Virginia Mason Medical Center, founded in 1920, is a non-profit comprehensive regional health-care system that combines a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 480 physicians with a 336-bed acute-care hospital in Seattle. In addition, Virginia Mason has a network of clinics located throughout the Puget Sound area, and manages Bailey-Boushay House, a nursing residence and Adult Day Health program for people living with HIV and AIDS. Virginia Mason also has an internationally recognized research center, Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason.

For Media Inquiries, Contact:
Alisha Mark
(206) 341-1509

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