Toddler’s cochlear implants turned on despite lockdown

Margarida Cibrao-Roque

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University of Southampton

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Margarida, who was deaf from birth, had received her cochlear implants in a previous operation

A child was able to listen for the first time after a revolutionary remote ignition of his cochlear implants.

Southampton audiologists have activated the devices for 18-year-old Margarida Cibrao-Roque via the Internet as they are unable to see patients in person because of the Covid-19 measures.

Professor Helen Cullington said that the procedure required “technical creativity”.

Margarida’s father said he had “opened a large window” for his daughter.

Margarida, who has been deaf since birth because she has Type One Ushers Syndrome, had received her cochlear implants in a previous operation.

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University of Southampton

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Professor Cullington conducted remote ignition from her home

They are electronic devices with an external voice processor to pick up the sound, which is then transmitted as electrical signals to an internal device positioned inside the inner ear. The brain interprets these signals as sound.

The staff of the Auditory Implant Service (USAIS) of the University of Southampton used specialized software and was able to monitor progress via videolink in the family home in Camberley, Surrey.

During ignition the electrical stimulation levels were gradually developed and Margarida’s responses were constantly monitored.

“Simply brilliant”

It is hoped that your new cochlear implants will help you listen and communicate more easily over time.

Margarida’s mother, Joana Cibrao, said the team was “simply brilliant and made it” despite blocking restrictions.

“The possibility of Margarida calling me mom one day would mean the world,” he said.

“We will be able to talk to our daughter, to play with her – she will be able to watch TV, the things you take for granted she doesn’t have, so you know, this is truly a victory.”

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