Nova Scotia Increases Services For Hearing, Speech Treatment

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Hearing, Speech Treatment

Nova Scotians will have access to more hearing and speech treatment in the new year.

Health Minister Chris d'Entremont announced the province will begin funding medically-approved double cochlear implants in January. About 30 people - mostly children - are expected to benefit from the change in policy.

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"Providing double cochlear implants as early as possible can have an incredible impact on speech and language skills and can improve learning skills," said Mr. d'Entremont. "We're pleased to make this investment, which can bring immense value to children and families."

Cochlear implants are devices that capture sound and turn it into electrical signals. They are surgically placed in the ear, next to the hearing nerve, where they send information to the brain, allowing the patient to hear sounds. In Nova Scotia, these surgeries are performed at the IWK Health Centre and the QEII Health Sciences Centre.

Single cochlear implant surgeries have been performed in Nova Scotia since 2001. New medical research has recently shown that double cochlear implants can significantly improve hearing and speech skills in some people.

For a patient to be a good candidate for a double cochlear implant they would have to have profound hearing loss in both ears, be at least 12 months old, and will usually have tried hearing aids for at least six months with no success.

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