The University Hospital of Antwerp (UZA) is the center of expertise when it comes to hearing surgery in Belgium. “Apart from this particular file, my first feeling is that it’s not right that we can’t offer the same help as in the US, even in Belgium and extending across Europe,” said Professor Oliver Vanderwagen, head of the UZA’s ENT department. Radio2 in Antwerp.
Vanderwagen emphasizes that patients like Ian can still hear with stereo perception even without a new ear canal. “Don’t be blinded by that new ear canal. It’s really important to see what’s under the skull in terms of nerves and cochlea. After ear reconstruction, sound can be transmitted through bone conduction. A well-functioning ear, on the other hand, in the most extreme cases, there’s no cochlea at all, the auditory branch. An implant can also be placed on the brainstem. We do it here in Belgium. We work with specialists at the London Children’s Hospital.”
Vanderveken insists that he is speaking purely from medical science. “I have to summarize the patient’s preferences. Everyone has the right to choose a center and treatment for themselves, anywhere in the world.”
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