Public Release: 

Chinese children with hearing devices benefit from new speech test

House Ear Institute

LOS ANGELES, CHENGDU, China and SYDNEY, Australia - August 13, 2007 - More than 4,000 children in China who have received cochlear implants and other devices will soon benefit from a speech perception test offered in Mandarin. The Mandarin Early Speech Perception (MESP) test was developed in collaboration between Sigfrid D. Soli, Ph.D., of the House Ear Institute in Los Angeles and Yun Zheng, MD, of the West China Hospital of Sichuan University in Chengdu, and exclusively licensed to Cochlear Limited for use in evaluation of pediatric cochlear implant recipients in China. The MESP parallels the Early Speech Perception (ESP) test used to assess English-speaking pediatric cochlear implant users throughout North America. The MESP is the first norm-referenced, objective, standardized and recorded speech test in Mandarin for assessment of hearing impaired children 2-5 years of age. The House Ear Institute and West China Hospital jointly hold international copyrights on the MESP materials.

"The MESP, as well as other Mandarin tests being developed through our collaboration, are essential tools in the emerging field of Chinese audiology," said Dr. Soli, vice president of technology transfer, House Ear Institute. "The MESP is the House Ear Institute's first research collaboration in China resulting in a license of intellectual property, and we are excited to be a part of this achievement." The MESP test will allow, for the first time, objective assessment of the benefits provided by the cochlear implant to children in China using measures that can be directly compared to published results from studies in North America.

"The need for these pediatric assessment tools and the audiologists who use them is ever increasing, as the number of hearing impaired children identified through China's early screening and intervention programs increases," said Dr. Zheng, who is also vice president of the Chinese Academy of Audiological Rehabilitation (CAAR). She further points out that audiological assessment tools like the MESP are essential for all interventions, including hearing aids, bone conduction implants, cochlear implants and other rehabilitative strategies.

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About the House Ear Institute

The House Ear Institute (HEI) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to advancing hearing science through research and education to improve quality of life. HEI scientists investigate the cellular and molecular underpinnings of hearing loss and related auditory disorders as well as neurological processes pertaining to the human auditory system and the brain. HEI also explore technology advancements to improve auditory implants, hearing aids, diagnostic techniques and rehabilitation tools. The Institute shares its knowledge with the scientific and medical communities as well as the general public through its education and outreach programs. For more information please call +1 (800) 388-8612 or visit www.hei.org.

About the West China Hospital and Hearing Center

West China Hospital in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, is a large comprehensive teaching and research hospital with all medical disciplines, a strong teaching faculty, considerable research facilities and state-of-the-art medical equipment. The hospital has been ranked among the top hospitals in China since 1990 and is the primary medical center for complex and severe cases, medical education, and scientific research in Southwest China. The Hearing Center, affiliated with the Hospital's Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, is a leading hearing center in China. It provides audiological service to hearing-impaired people, especially young children, throughout Southwest China in accord with international standard of audiology practice. For more information, please visit www.cd120.com, call +8613880851186, or shirleyzy@yahoo.com.

About Cochlear Limited

Cochlear is the world leader in bone conduction and cochlear implant technology. In 1982 the company commercialized the first multi-channel cochlear implant and in 2005 acquired the Swedish bone conduction implant, Baha. Cochlear implants are used by children and adults with a severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss whom no longer benefit from hearing aids. The product comprises and internal implant and external speech processor. Cochlear's bone conduction implants are used for children and adults with a conductive hearing loss or single sided deafness. Baha comprises a titanium implanted fixture and a small external speech processor. In addition to its global research and development program, Cochlear works to develop country infrastructure to support hearing outcomes including training, consumer awareness and the development habilitation tools and services. For more information, please visit www.cochlear.com.au.

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