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Youngest patient bilaterally provided with a cochlear implant

Five months old girl implanted at University ENT-clinic in Freiburg, Germany

Freiburg, 29.01.2004

Little Marie-Josephine, age 5 months (163 days), is the youngest patient worldwide provided with a cochlear implant, an electronic hearing prosthesis, simultaneously in each ear. Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Roland Laszig and Dr. Antje Aschendorff from the Freiburg University ENT-clinic in Germany performed the surgery on January 5th, 2004.

Deafened suddenly, following meningitis, her only chance for successful treatment of her profound hearing loss was to receive the cochlear implants without delay following recovery from her illness. Following meningitis, the build-up of scar tissue leading to ossification in the inner ear organ, the cochlea, can prevent implantation of the fine electrode array of the electronic hearing prosthesis, the cochlear implant, at a later date. Parents and surgeons together decided to take advantage of the unique possibility of bilateral implants to allow Marie-Josephine to learn how to hear and talk alongside other children of her age.

Prior to this experience, the youngest child implanted with cochlear implants on both sides was operated in Minneapolis, USA, in 2002, at the age of a little more than 6 months. Similarly, this child had suffered from meningitis before experiencing a sudden loss of hearing in each ear.


Prof. Roland Laszig
Killianstr. 5
79106 Freiburg
Phone: +49 761 270 4205

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