Since 2018, Preah Ang Duong Hospital has successfully restored hearing to 36 people with congenital deafness, allowing them to hear and speak normally.
Several of the patients were children, who are now enrolled in school and learning alongside their classmates.
Yos Sophorn, first vice-president of the hospital’s Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) department, said on January 17 that 49 ear surgeries have been successful performed. The patient’s ages ranged from very young to the elderly. Many of the them were fitted with hearing aids, which allow them to hear and interact with their families and members of their communities.
“After surgery, many of the children come to the hospital to learn to speak. Their vocabularies are usually fairly limited to start with, but they begin with the names of their family members and simple items around the house and then progress very quickly,” she added.
Sophorn said that before surgery is performed, doctors explained the specific condition of each patient to their parents or relatives. Once the operation is complete, the hospital provides training on the use and maintenance of hearing aids, and details of the speech therapy that will be required.
“We have partnered with South Korea to establish a therapy centre for patients. Once they have regained their hearing, they must learn how to speak,” she added.
She explained that the hospital is equipped with modern medical equipment, which allows them to test the hearing of children as soon as they are born. This means they can provide a fast diagnosis of any treatment or surgery that may be required and perform it almost immediately.
Lou Lykheang, director of the hospital, said congenital deafness surgery is very important. He is proud that his hospital is the first in Cambodia to conduct these operations. Many of the surgeries were performed on patients who were just two or three years old.
“Children learn to speak very quickly, but many adults suffer from dysarthria and cannot speak clearly. They often find it difficult to train their tongues to make the correct shapes to speak,” he added.
According to Lykheang, the 49 surgeries were performed on 36 patients. Some required operations on both ears, and some on only one.