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Deafness (Direct Electronic Stimulus)

Volume 14: debated on Monday 30 November 1981

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will allow more centres to carry out treatment for deafness by direct electronic stimulus of the nerve cells; and if he will make a statement on this treatment.

The only current work in this country using the technique of electrical auditory stimulation is being undertaken on a research basis by a group based at Guy's hospital. The wider adoption of such a new technique would be a matter primarily for the professional judgement of doctors specialising in the field, but would depend also on the availability of the funds required. As yet the value of electrical stimulation prostheses in the treatment of profound deafness has not been conclusively established. A report that I have received from Mr. J. C. Ballantyne, FRCS, prepared by himself and two colleagues, contains a number of proposals for wider evaluation of the technique and I am arranging for this to be studied by the Department and the Medical Research Council.