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University of Michigan Hospital experts share knowledge on cochlear implants

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HANCOCK - Two experts from the University of Michigan Cochlear Implant Program visited the Copper Country today to speak to area care providers about the effects of cochlear implants on a child’s development.

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Kelly Starr, speech language pathologist from the University of Michigan Hospital works with local care providers today during a presentation about cochlear implants

“Today’s presentation was meant to get support for our children with hearing impairments,” said Jean Pyykkonen, the Copper Country Intermediate School District’s teacher consultant for hearing impaired students. “Everyone that attended today’s session works with these children, and will now have a better understanding of these children’s needs.”

The attendees ranged from parents, to pre-school and high school teachers, to speech pathologists and audiologists, all of which were specifically invited.

“We need to give everyone the basic knowledge of cochlear implants so we can all work together for these children,” Pyykkonen said.

It’s the first time experts from Ann Arbor have been to the Copper Country to talk about the issue.

“We want to help these professional care givers,” said Dr. Heidi Slager, Aud, an audiologist at the Ann Arbor-based hospital. “Recent changes in devices and strategies have changed the field, and we want everyone to be as updated as possible.”

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Dr. Heidi Slager, an audiologist form the University of Michigan Hospital, discusses cochlear implants with Portage Health Audiologist Nancy Reed, M.A.

Speech Language Pathologist Kelly Starr joined Slager, and they presented to about 20 people at the Portage Health Conference Center.

“Early intervention is key to get children to their age equivalence by the time they’re school aged,” said Starr. “We like to have children implanted at 12 months.”

The presentation was organized by the Portage Health Audiology Department, and made possible by a Sound Support Grant the University of Michigan Hospital received.

“Essentially we had met officials from the U of M at a networking event, and realized this was a great opportunity for our community,” said Nancy Reed, M.A., an audiologist at Portage Health. “This information is vital to the people here today, and we’re happy people have this opportunity.”

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