Cochlear Implants – A Personal Perspective by: Dr. Simon C. Parisier
Dr. Parisier was invited to speak at the University of Maryland, School of Medicine (Department of Otolaryngology) Graduation Ceremony. In his speech, Dr. Parisier bring you through the history of deafness and reveals how this journey changed, not only his life, but the lives of so many deaf children adults.
It is 1976 and I’m a young otologist, 10 years out of residency. The pediatricians ask me to consult on a young child being treated for bacterial meningitis. The perfectly healthy child developed a high fever, a headache and has been comatose. She has responded to high dose intravenous antibiotics and is getting better. However, her developing speech is now garbled and incomprehensible. She doesn’t seem to respond to sound. Her balance has been affected. The parents say, “Doctor what’s happening? Please help her.” I explain that the bacterial infection has spread to the child’s inner ears and has deafened her. Without hearing, the speech she had developed as a three year old has disappeared. I have to say, “I’m so sorry but your child is profoundly deaf… I compassionately answer the many unanswerable questions as to what lies in store for their previously perfect child. This experience made me, the young otologist, feel helpless, frustrated and inept.
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