CENTENNIAL, Colo., Oct. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- In celebration of the 30th anniversary of the first commercially available multichannel cochlear implant, Cochlear Americas announced today the launch of a national awareness initiative and education tour designed to inform the public about advanced treatments for hearing loss, a growing problem affecting one in 10 Americans. Over the last 30 years, cochlear implants have redefined what it means to be deaf by giving people access to sound and additional communication options.
Hearing loss is fast becoming one of the most serious health issues in the United States. In fact, only arthritis and heart disease affect more Americans than hearing loss. However, even the most advanced hearing aids may not be enough for people with severe to profound hearing loss, and as a result, they may be unable to work, advance in their careers and ultimately, they may lose contact with their loved ones. Approximately 1.2 million people with hearing loss are candidates for cochlear implants, yet fewer than six percent have been treated. Unlike a hearing aid that amplifies sound, a cochlear implant is an implantable hearing solution that delivers sound directly to the hearing nerve.
"As this year marks the 30th anniversary of the first multichannel cochlear implant system, it's an ideal time to remind the public that implantable hearing solutions have become a leading treatment option for those with severe to profound hearing loss," said Chris Smith, President of Cochlear Americas. "At Cochlear, we are fortunate to have been part of this revolution in hearing loss treatment for the last three decades. Along with the dedicated clinicians and families around the country, we are proud to have helped change the lives of so many throughout the years."
Caitlin Parton became the youngest child in the country, and one of the first in the world, to receive a cochlear implant. She describes receiving the device as "one of the best decisions my parents ever made for me. It allows me to hear, participate and succeed in the hearing world. To look at what I've been able to do today, I'm just very grateful."
"When I invented the multi-channel cochlear implant, it was my vision to help people with hearing loss," said Professor Graeme Clark. "I cannot imagine any technology that has had such a profound effect on transforming peoples' lives. However, there are still many millions of people around the world who could benefit from this device. In a way, it is one of medicine's best kept secrets – but I wish it weren't."
Research states that if left untreated, hearing loss can lead to isolation and feelings of frustration, depression and loneliness. Nearly 80 percent of people who received a cochlear implant within a year of finding out they were candidates would have gotten a cochlear implant sooner if they could do it over.
The nationwide tour of Hearing Health Seminars invites attendees to learn about hearing loss directly from local hearing professionals as well as recipients of implantable hearing devices. To learn more about the 30th anniversary celebration and to find Hearing Health Seminars in your area, become a fan on Facebook at Facebook.com/Cochlear or visit CochlearAmericas.com/30years.
About Cochlear Implants
Cochlear implants are a proven medical option for infants as young as 12 months old with profound hearing loss in both ears, children aged two and older with severe-to-profound hearing loss, and adults with moderate-to-profound hearing loss in both ears. They are electronic devices that bypass damaged hair cells in the inner ear, or cochlea, and stimulate the hearing nerve directly.
Cochlear is the world leader in advanced hearing technologies. Since launching the first multichannel cochlear implant system 30 years ago, Cochlear Limited and its U.S. headquarters have brought the miracle of sound to more than 250,000 people with hearing loss across the globe. For more information about Cochlear Americas products, please visit www.cochlearamericas.com.
SOURCE Cochlear Americas