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The first artificial sensory apparatus is being developed under the supervision of Szeged scientists

At the end of October, the 15th Online Pediatric Cochlear Implant Conference was held, chaired by Joseph Geza Kiss and Laszlo Ruffo. Lecturers at Segged University have been at the forefront of developing implant, surgery and rehabilitation technologies for decades, which restore hearing for hundreds of children and adults each year.

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The 15th European Symposium on Pediatric Cochlear Implantation (ESPCI 2021) was open to experts in this field. There was strong interest from all five continents for this event, which is the pinnacle of a career.

Szeged scholars are doing the work of their serious predecessors. Biophysicist György Bekesi won the 1961 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his “discoveries of the physical mechanism of the velocity of the inner ear, the snail,” and Robert Barani, a Hungarian physician and professor, was awarded the Medical Nobel. .

President of the European organization since 2019, Joseph Geza Kiss, Scientific Adviser of the Department of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery at SZTE SZAOK, who already participated in the first symposium organized in 1992. He has kept pace with the development of implants and related technologies all the time.

– I can say that our current conference was a success, a very useful exchange of information took place, and we were able to share the results of the latest research and developments. Great emphasis is also placed on rehabilitation and the procedures that support it. 500 people logged in at one time and almost all lectures and roundtable discussions took place with a maximum number of participants. There were participants from all continents. Many would also say that in 10 years this was the third conference entrusted to us. I can say without humility that the opinions of doctors and specialists who deal with cochlear implants in Hungary are given all over the world. Although the event ended a few days ago, I still receive many congratulations from the participants – We found out from Joseph Geza Kiss, the lead organizer of the event.

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An internationally recognized specialist in surgery, László Rovó, President of Szeged University, Vice President of the Conference, has already helped dozens of children lead fuller lives. Specialists also use the latest technologies for surgical operations and for the use and subsequent operation of the device. All conditions for this are presented in the new building of the Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery at SZTE SZAKK.

Hearing is the first perception that science can artificially replace. Children suitable for implantation can undergo surgery up to age 1, which enables them to hear. Without the implant, they had to live their lives without hearing anything and not speaking.

The essence of the procedure is that the cochlea, unable to perform its function, is blocked and the stimulus from the outside world is transmitted to the nervous system, that is, the brain. This is done using an external and internal microcomputer.

– It is interesting that the size of the ear and the inside of the cochlea do not change during our lifetime, so the organs do not “grow” from patients. However, according to the current situation, it is recommended to replace the equipment every six months. Children who receive such a device emerge from a state of complete deafness at about 2.5 years to the point where they can already hear and speak.– said Joseph Geza Kiss.

There are currently more than 1,500 people in Hungary who can hear this procedure. More than 800 of them underwent surgery at the University of Szeged or are undergoing aftercare and rehabilitation. After the transplant, the SZTE also helps with rehabilitation, settings and maintenance of the device are carried out, but the teacher and psychologist also help with the most effective recovery.

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It is frightening to see children’s first reactions when they first experience a sense of hearing after surgery. The world of sounds is just as new to them, as it is to a newborn. The younger a person gets an implant, the easier it is to reach the hearing and speaking stage. We do not only perform this procedure on children, but about 25% of them are also performed on adults who have lost their hearing for some reason. In their case, the process is easier because they have speech memory, unlike children – The SZTE professor started her on healing processes.

The October Symposium dissected the exciting topics and provided participants with greater and easier access than ever before.

The conference is organized around four main sections:

– the latest developments in implants as devices,

– Latest surgeries, experience,

– optimal rehabilitation,

– Epidemiological telemedicine options, e-health.

The next European Symposium on Pediatric Cochlear Implants will be in 2023 in Rotterdam.