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Perth researchers advance cochlear implants -

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(generated from captions) And still on matters medical,

the cochlear implant is acclaimed

as one of Australia's most significant contributions to medical science. It's brought hearing

to tens of thousands of people across the world. Now researchers in Perth are leading the way in taking the use of the sophisticated technology to what they see as its next level - dual implants. The procedure is still rare, especially in the case of simultaneous implants, but so far the results have been encouraging. Hamish Fitzsimmons reports. OK Joe, yeah, I'll see you soon. I'll be there in half an hour. Until a few years ago, the simple act of using the telephone was beyond Jordan Smalley. After a lifetime of chronic hearing problems, even a hearing aid wasn't much use by the time he was 17. I was struggling a lot. My hearing was non-existent. Even with hearing aids, I'd run my race, as far as a deaf person with hearing aids was concerned. It was over so, I had to start looking at my options. Two years ago, he received a cochlear implant which allowed him to share the joy of thousands of other Australians in hearing again. You're just amazed at the clarity. It's just so clear. I mean, with hearing aids on it was just a general ampification. There was no specific sound. The cochlear implant was first developed in Australia in 1978. Though praised as a miraculous invention, the cochlear doesn't actually create normal hearing.

It's a speech processor, which converts sound waves into electrical impulses and stimulates the ear's hearing nerve directly. Its most common usage is as a simple implant, but it does have its limitations. We started to see and talk to our patients and they were telling us that with one implant, they were having difficulties understanding speech and background noise

and they couldn't really work out where sounds were coming from. These were big impacts on their quality of life. As a result the Lions Ear & Hearing Institute in Perth has been pioneering the use of two implants. That we thought was going to be double the work, so that double the work was going to be quite a significant impost on time and resources. But, in fact, it's turned out to be somewhat easier than we thought it it would be. The great success of this program is 25-year-old Danny Clarke. Six months ago, the helicopter rescue officer lost his hearing after being attacked on the way home from a night out. Next thing I know, I was waking up on the ground with no hearing and no balance. And turns out later, a fractured skull. It was a cruel blow in more ways than one. I was hoping that it was just a temporary loss. Ah, I'd let myself believe that. And yeah, it's difficult to describe. That was probably the hardest moment, the amount of consequences that went through my head at that moment, were incredible. Yeah, my career most probably lost, the ability to communicate

with all the people that I care about in the world. Doctors advised him the solution was to have double implants. OK son, can you hear me in both ears or just the one?

Both. That's good. Since the operation in January, his recovery has amazed audio specialists. Even though it cost more than $60,000,

Danny Clarke believes it's been worth every cent. Since the implants, it's been amazing just to get bits and pieces back, step-by-step. Socially, especially, it's amazing. I can now be involved in a discussion with a group, whereas before when I was deaf, even though everyone was putting in the effort I'd have to wait until someone would turn around and explain the whole conversation to me via lip reading or little notes on a pad. Now I can be involved the same way everyone else is, and it's fantastic. It still doesn't sound to him like normal quite yet, particularly with music.

that process, He's still working through

speech. but he can certainly understand he's tried the mobile phone He's even tried me that talking on the phone. and he can hear some people what the implants are doing So he's got all that memory and is just activating it again. In the meantime, a second implant Jordan Smalley decided to get increasingly frustrated because he was direction and background noise. in being unable to identify sound

slower than Danny Clarke, Though his rehabilitation has been with the result. he couldn't be happier It's just fantastic. it really is. It's an enjoyment to hear now, feel that double implants Jordan Smalley and Danny Clarke permanently in a world with sound have given them the chance to live instead of silence. to learn to cope with deafness Some people make the choice I can understand that. and stay that way and on too many things But I was going to miss out if I made that decision. that I'd had before So I wasn't willing to. It was like a victory. It was like, I was losing all the time before. "OK, I'm winning now," 'cause and it was one step at a time. And so it was a small victory Hamish Fitzsimmons reporting there.