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Health Spotlight: Cochlear implant saves boy’s speech

(WISH) — A boy got a second chance at hearing.

Sensorineural hearing loss happens from damage to the inner ear, the place of origin of the nerve that runs from the ear to the brain, or to the brain. There are 66,000 new cases every year. Researchers at Cleveland Clinic, a nonprofit academic medical center, worked on modifying the cochlear implant to save children’s hearing as early as possible.

That’s what happened with Corbin Lapso. Now, the 2-year-old is the life of the party.

Corbin was born with bilateral severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss, meaning he couldn’t hear anything, even with regular hearing aids.

Makaela Lapso, Corbin’s mother, recalled the doctor’s giving them the diagnosis. “I remember her saying, ‘It’s lifelong and permanent and can only be reversed with hearing technology,’ and, at that point, the room kind of went black.”

Pediatric audiologist Samantha Anne recommended Corbin undergo bilateral implant surgery at 7 months old to restore his hearing.

Anne said that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval “for implantation for infants with bilateral severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss is 9 months of age. At Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital, we strongly believe that we should get these babies to hear as early as possible, as long as it’s done in a safe manner.”

Corbin has fully recovered. Anne said, “He is thriving. He is doing probably more than he should be at his age.”

His mother said, “For some, that was, like, the end of the journey, like, he was treated, he was ‘fixed.’ But, for us, that was just the start. You know, we were finally able to see what this little guy is capable of.”

Anne and her colleagues discovered through their research that the risks of performing the surgery earlier rather than later were the same, but the outcome was much better.

Health Spotlight is presented by Community Health Network. This story was created from a script aired on WISH-TV.