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First simultaneous cochlear implant operation for WA

A 25-year-old man will undergo Western Australia's first ever simultaneous bilateral cochlear implant operation on Thursday 9 February at St John of God Hospital in Subiaco.

Danny Clarke will have two cochlear hearing devices implanted in both his ears at the same time.

Danny, who became a successful search and rescue helicopter air crewman despite losing his hearing in his right ear due to a fall at the age of 11, became permanently deaf last year after being attacked by a stranger after a night out with friends.

He was struck heavily on the face, fell and hit his head hard on the pavement, fracturing the base of his skull on his left side and lost his hearing in his remaining good ear.

Danny's family, friends and colleagues have fundraised more than $25,000 for one cochlear implant and the Lions Ear and Hearing Institute has donated a second implant Danny will be able to undergo the operation.

One of Australia's leading ear surgeons and Director of LEHI, Professor Marcus Atlas, will perform the uncommon procedure. He said the operation would give Danny the ability to hear again and restore his ability to undertake regular day-to-day activities.

"It's pleasing for the Institute to be overseeing this type of operation and it's a great outcome for Danny in light of his recent hearing loss," Professor Atlas said.

"After the swelling has gone down and the surgery scar has healed around his ears which takes about two weeks we will activate the cochlear implants and Danny should start hearing sounds.

"The rehabilitation process takes up to 12 months of intensive mapping (programming the cochlear device) and exercises from our Audiologist, Katrise Eager, who will help Danny learn to hear sounds through the implant," he said.

Danny's father Lex said the operation was a huge boost for his son who had been devastated at the loss of his hearing and subsequently, his job as a search and rescue helic
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Contact: John Williams
61-892-281-999
Research Australia
8-Feb-2006


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