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Thursday, 20 September, 2001, 15:49 GMT 16:49 UK
Children will 'learn to hear'
Queens Medical Centre, Nottingham
The centre will treat 12 children at a time
Deaf children who have had electrodes implanted in their ears will learn how to use the devices properly at a medical centre in Nottingham.

The Cochlear Implant Centre at Queens Medical Centre is unique in offering support to children who have had cochlear implants.

The implants have been carried out at Queens Medical Centre (QMC) since 1989 and involve placing an electrode into the inner ear so the brain can understand sounds.

The cochlea is the part of the ear which transforms acoustic signals into electric signals which can be understood by the brain.

The children have to learn how to hear and speak, making the operation very much more effective

Sue Archbold, ear specialist

Until now there has been nowhere for children and their families to undergo training to fully use the implant.

The Ear Foundation, the charity which brought ear implantations to UK, has raised nearly 1m to fund the centre which opened on Thursday.

Sue Archbold, who co-ordinates the paediatric cochlear implantation programme, said: "It is exciting because the future of the children is now secure.

"The operation is the beginning. The children have to learn how to hear and speak, making the operation very much more effective."

Up to 12 children will be treated at the centre at any one time.

Parental training

Since 1989, 350 children from around the country have had cochlear implants at QMC and the list is growing.

"The children need somewhere to come to learn how to manage the device.

"The Ear Foundation provides residential accommodation, a rehabilitation centre and training courses for parents and teachers."

Princess Alexandra opened the centre on Thursday afternoon.

There is currently a year-long waiting list for the operation at QMC.

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