Doctors in LA experiment with auditory brain stem implant surger - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Doctors in LA experiment with auditory brain stem implant surgery

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An experimental procedure is giving deaf children the chance to hear. Doctors at Children's Hospital in Los Angeles are taking part in an experimental trial.

Two months ago, a drumbeat would not have gotten a reaction from Auguste Majkowski, a 3-year-old who was born deaf.

"Learning your child is deaf is difficult, you just have to sink it in, cry it out and you have to move on for the sake of the child," Sophie Gareau, Auguste's mom.

When cochlear implants didn't work, Auguste's family traveled from Canada to Los Angeles to have an experimental surgery. Dr. Mark Krieger and his team at Children's Hospital Los Angeles placed a tiny device deep in Auguste's brain called an auditory brain stem implant.

"It basically brings sound waves from the outside world, converts them into electrical impulses and transmits them directly into the brain," said Krieger.

August is one of 10 children under the age of five who is taking part in the United States experiment.

His therapist, Dr. Laurie Eisenberg says he's already responding to sound, but will need years of therapy.

"He has to go through the same steps that an infant would go through to learn how to hear and process speech," said Eisenberg, USC Keck School of Medicine.

Auguste's mom says therapy is the hardest part of his day, but it's worth it if he can communicate better.

"If he ends up hearing really well or speaking that's a bonus," said Gareau.

Hundreds of children in the U.S. could benefit from auditory brain stem implant surgery if researchers find it's safe and effective.


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