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Cochlear implants focus of symposium

Dec. 11, 2014, 9:33 AM

More than 1,200 attendees from more than 40 countries are in Nashville this week for the 14th Symposium on Cochlear Implants in Children.

The conference, which began Thursday and runs through Saturday at the Omni Nashville Hotel, is sponsored by Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the American Cochlear Implant Alliance. Topics at the symposium include educational attainment, literacy, music, bilingual families, long-term support and surgical issues.

The goal of the meeting is to expand awareness of the power of cochlear implants, a surgically implanted electronic device that restores hearing to people with severe-to-profound hearing loss.

Vanderbilt was a pioneer in the testing and development of the cochlear implants in children, with its first implant surgery occurring about 35 years ago. It now has one of the largest cochlear implant programs in the country.

Organizers of the conference include David Haynes, M.D., professor of otolaryngology, neurosurgery and hearing and speech sciences; René Gifford, Ph.D., associate professor of hearing and speech sciences; Alejandro Rivas, M.D., assistant professor of otolaryngology.  Jack Noble, research assistant professor in electrical engineering and computer science, also presented research at the conference.

“David Haynes, René Gifford and Alejandro Rivas have provided a superior example of organizing a pediatric cochlear implant meeting of enormous global attendance,” said Ron Eavey, M.D., director of the Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center and Guy M. Maness Professor and chair of Otolaryngology.

“These efforts reflect distinctly and brightly on the accomplishments of the faculty members of the Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center and the Departments of Hearing and Speech Sciences and Otolaryngology who have created a world-class clinical, educational and research impact on childhood deafness.”

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