Sept 2019 Independent Online

Tygerberg Implant Unitr

Audiologist and co-ordinator of Tygerberg Hospital Cochlear Implant Unit Jenny Perold, ENT surgeon Dr Gary Kroukamp, Kwanele Gawe and Neliswa Ntlebi with Kamva Ntlebi

Kamva Ntlebi, 14, who lost his hearing as a baby, has become the 800th patient of the Cochlear Implant Unit, a joint partnership between Tygerberg Hospital and Stellenbosch University.

The teen’s mother, Neliswa Ntlebi, discovered Kamva suffered from hearing loss when he was just 18 months old. An Auditory Brainstem Response test confirmed this, after which he was fitted with hearing aids. At the age of six, Kamva contracted meningitis, which resulted in permanent hearing loss. Despite being fitted with hearing aids, Kamva’s academic performance suffered over the years. This also affected his social interactions due to the limited ability of acoustic amplification to restore speech perception with his degree of hearing loss.

Earlier this year his doctor referred him to the Tygerberg Hospital/University of Stellenbosch Cochlear Implant Unit for an assessment. In June the East London Satellite Unit, based at Frere Hospital, met Kamva and his parents, and he was found to be a good candidate. The cochlear implant was performed at the Life Kingsbury Hospital in Claremont on September 6.

Jenny Perold, the chief audiologist of the Cochlear Implant Unit, said cochlear implantation provided an excellent option for people who became or were born deaf. “It has the potential to transform the lives of those who wish to hear,” Perold said. “Our team is able to offer this option through a careful audiological, medical and radiological assessment process. We are very grateful to the funders and to Tygerberg Hospital, which supports our efforts for those who do not have medical aid assistance. We shall eagerly await Kamva’s initial activation and his aural rehabilitation journey,” she said.

The unit is based at Tygerberg Hospital, and was established in 1986 under the leadership of former ear, nose and throat Professor Derrick Wagenfeld and Audiologist Lida Müller. The first implant was also performed in 1986.

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