A cochlear implant patient at The James Cook University Hospital has become the world’s first recipient of an advanced hearing device.
Lydia French, 66, was fitted with an Advanced Bionics CROS (Contralateral Routing of Signal) device on her non-implanted ear by the hospital’s cochlear implant team last month.
A cochlear implant is an option for those individuals with severe to profound hearing loss that is not helped by hearing aids.
Adult patients normally only receive one cochlear implant on the NHS and may be fitted with a hearing aid in the non-implanted ear in a bid to help with binaural hearing – which is the ability to hear clearly in two ears.
However, Lydia, who is from County Durham, was missing out on sounds as her non-implanted ear did not have any useful hearing to be fitted with a hearing aid. For example, she was finding it difficult to hear a passenger in the car while driving – as her non-implanted ear is on the left side.
To help overcome this obstacle of limited hearing, the cochlear implant team fitted an Advanced Bionics CROS device on Lydia’s non-implanted ear.
As the world’s first recipient of the advanced technology, Lydia said: “I feel very honoured and excited to be fitted with the hearing device at James Cook hospital.
The hearing instrument enables patients like Lydia to capture sound from the non-implanted ear and send the sound over to the implanted side – ensuring she is not missing out on sounds from the other side.
“When I listen with the CROS device, the sound feels ‘rounder’ and I find it easier to chat with friends and family in a noisy environment.”
“Having better access to sound on my non-implanted side means I don’t need to ask for repetition as often, and I feel more relaxed and comfortable when I am out socialising or listening in a car,” Lydia added.
The device is currently offered to Advanced Bionics cochlear implant patients in James Cook and has several benefits such as improved speech intelligibility in noise when speech is presented to the unaided ear, enhanced quality of hearing and better speech understanding in noisy environments and many more.
Consultant ENT surgeon Anirvan Banerjee said: “It’s great to hear of this achievement and I am very proud of the team.
“The North East Regional Cochlear Implant Programme (NERCIP) team is truly exceptional in their commitment to adopting technology that benefits patients. It’s commendable that they have taken such proactive steps to implement this for the appropriate patients.
A big ‘thank you’ is definitely in order for the IT (information and technology) and IG (information governance) teams at the trust for their prompt management of governance. Their efforts have undoubtedly contributed to the successful implementation of these technological advancements.
“Keep up the fantastic work!”
Clinical specialist Jill Honeyman added: “AB (Advanced Bionics) remains the only manufacturer to offer linked two-ear solutions with hearing aids and cochlear implants designed to communicate and work together as a pair. Now AB’s Marvel CI will also be the only CI system with a CROS device.”