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Health news and issues in the Ozarks.

CoxHealth Begins Offering Cochlear Implants For Those With Hearing Loss


Tuesday, CoxHealth will do its first cochlear implant procedure.  But this isn’t the first time the procedure has been done in Springfield.  Mercy has offered it for around two decades.  Dr. Scott Estrem helped set up Mercy’s program in Springfield and another in Berryville, Arkansas.  And he set up the program at CoxHealth.

The first cochlear implant program he started was in 1987 at the University of Missouri-Columbia.  He said it’s his favorite surgery because of how much it helps patients.

"It just makes such a world of difference for people, all the way from infants on up to the elderly," he said.

Cochlear implants can help with nerve-based hearing loss.  Part of the device is implanted under the skin in the cochlea and another sits behind the ear.  They replace the function of the damaged portion of the inner ear by stimulating the auditory nerve, according to CoxHealth.  Estrem said those who aren’t helped by hearing aids are good candidates for the procedure.

Cox will begin doing the procedure on adults 18 and over but eventually will offer it to children.

Michele Skalicky has worked at KSMU since the station occupied the old white house at National and Grand. She enjoys working on both the announcing side and in news and has been the recipient of statewide and national awards for news reporting. She likes to tell stories that make a difference. Michele enjoys outdoor activities, including hiking, camping and leisurely kayaking.