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Israeli Hospital Gives 16 Deaf Palestinian Children Ability to Hear for the First Time

Sixteen deaf Palestinian children received cochlear implants at a Jerusalem hospital over the past year, giving them a chance to hear for the first time, Ynet reported Saturday.

The 16 children, all from the West Bank or the Gaza Strip, were treated at Hadassah Ein Kerem through a program organized by the Peres Center for Peace.

“The operations posed quite a logistical challenge,” said Dr. Michal Kaufmann, the surgeon who implanted the devices. “[Many] authorizations were required from the Defense Ministry, some of the children arrived without a medical record and required extensive tests at Hadassah, alongside the emotional and psychological treatment.”

A cochlear implant is a hearing device that is placed on the patient’s inner ear and is in direct contact with the hearing nerve, bypassing any damaged parts. About a month after the device is implanted, the patient is fitted with an external component and trained by a speech therapist. The process takes several months overall and involves the collaboration of ENT physicians, ear surgeons, and speech therapists.

“These children couldn’t speak prior to the surgery, they were bereft of any supporting environment, uncommunicative,” Dr. Kaufmann said. “The surgery opened up their world, the ability to communicate and spread their wings… We are happy to have been able to contribute to such a dramatic change in their lives.”

[Photo: YoavR / WikiCommons ]