New surgery conducted for the first time in UAE restores hearing to teen

DUBAI — Surgeons at Dubai Hospital have succeeded in implanting a bone conduction hearing aid for the first time in the UAE, enabling a 17-year-old Emirati born with a thinner-than-average skull and hearing loss in the right ear to fully regain her hearing, according to the hospital doctors.

The procedure usually requires the patient to have a skull thickness of at least 8 millimetres. The young patient’s skull was only 1.5 millimetres.

The new procedure gives hope to patients who wish to regain their hearing ability and lead a normal life. This is why Dubai Hospital was keen to use this technology and adapt it to those with thin skull thickness, said Dr Jamal Kassouma, ENT Consultant at Dubai Hospital, adding that the patient, who was not named, was discharged the next day, because she won’t be needing any rehabilitation following the surgery.

The bone conduction implant uses the body’s natural ability to transfer sound. “While a lot of the sound we hear travels to our ears through the air (air conduction), we actually hear a great deal through vibrations in the bone, he explained.

“The young patient who suffered from hearing loss in her right ear has a skull thickness of 1.5 millimetres, which made it impossible to implant a regular bone bridge, which requires that the skull thickness is at least 8 millimetres,” he said.

In less than an hour, the team of doctors attached a titanium plate to the skull so that an external device could pick up sounds and transfer them to the plate, attached by a magnet to transfer the vibrations from the right to the left ear, Dr. Kassouma added.

After careful studying of the CT scan, the doctors found a limited area with three millimetres in thickness. “We fixed the implantation in that area using a titanium screw.”

Dubai Hospital has so far succeeded in conducting seven bone conduction hearing aid procedures on individuals whose skull was thicker than eight millimetres.

Source: Emirates News Agency