Smart Woman: Brain Implant Helps Deaf Child Hear

Published 07/25 2014 04:19PM

Updated 07/25 2014 06:43PM

Two months ago, a drumbeat would not have gotten a reaction from Auguste Majkowski, a 3 year old child who was born deaf. Now, he is slowly recognizing sounds.

Auguste's mother, Sophie Gareau, says, "Learning your child is deaf is difficult. You just have to sink it in, cry it out and you have to move on for the sake of the child."

When cochlear implants didn't work, Auguste's family traveled from Canada to Los Angeles to have an experimental surgery. Dr. Mark Krieger and his team at Children's Hospital Los Angeles placed a tiny device deep in Auguste's brain called an auditory brain stem implant.

Dr. Mark Krieger, a Pediatric Neurosurgeon at Children's Hospital in Los Angeles talks about the implant and says, "It basically brings sound waves from the outside world, converts them into electrical impulses and transmits them directly into the brain."

Auguste is one of ten children under the age of 5 who are a part of this experiment.

Auguste's therapist, Dr. Laurie Eisenberg is happy that August is already responding to sound, but will need years of therapy.

Dr. Laurie Eisenberg of University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine says, "He has to go through the same steps that an infant would go through to learn how to hear and process speech."

Although, therapy is the hardest part of Auguste's day, his mom knows that it will be worth it if Auguste can communicate better.

Hundred of children in the United States could benefit from auditory brain stem implant surgery if researchers find it is safe and effective.

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