The exciting new developments in the field of otolarynogology—head and neck surgery can be categorized under three headings: new technology, new applications for recent advances, and refinements in surgical techniques. As we continue to gain experience with innovative diagnostic procedures and operations, they are being employed more appropriately and effectively in the care of patients.
Leading this year's parade of progress has been the wider use of the implantable cochlear prosthesis, or cochlear implant. It assists profoundly deaf individuals by providing enhanced sound awareness. While it is not capable of restoring normal hearing ability, it has been found to significantly benefit most individuals in their ability to speech-read (lip-read) in face-to-face conversation. A small group of patients, called "superior listeners," have been able to understand free speech without visual cues after the implant. A number of clinical trials are in progress comparing the models that have a single electrode with
Bailey BJ. Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery. JAMA. 1987;258(16):2282-2283. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03400160136041