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Advanced Bionics – „Trust is the foundation“

Learning to read with the help of an Advanced Bionics cochlear implant system

Close partnerships with surgeons, audiologists and recipients are crucial to the success of Advanced Bionics. In Brazil, Advanced Bionics has a strong relationship with one of the world’s leading institutions for cochlear implants. An ENT specialist of this center also supports the Hear the World Foundation.

For its operations in the business segment of Advanced Bionics Brazil, the Sonova Group collaborates closely with state-run and private hospitals. For example, a trusting partnership has been built with the university clinic in Bauru, the Hospital de Reabilitação e Anomalias Craniofaciais – Centro de Pesquisas Audiológicas/ Universidade de São Paulo. It is one of the most renowned institutions in the country and its clinical research center is one of the most distinguished in South America. Lovingly called “Centrinho”, it is about 300 km away from São Paulo. Since the early nineties, more than a thousand cochlear implants – including products from Advanced Bionics – have been successfully implanted, improving the hearing of those recipients. The extensive clinic compound is impressive: Roofed aisles lead through a park-like complex and connect a number of flat-roofed pavilions with each other. One of the passageways leads to a new building with 12 floors that opened its doors in 2012. Many families move from other parts of the country to receive the best possible therapy for their relatives at the clinic.

“Of course the technology is important. But to us, good diagnostics and especially rehabilitation are equally important”, says Orozimbo Alves Costa, a renowned surgeon. As early as 1989, he flew over to far-away Manchester to witness one of the first operations for a cochlear implant. His first operation finally took place in 1990: “I waited until the technology was developed well enough.”

He still remembers the patient: The young girl, at that time thought of as a hopeless case, was even able to talk on the phone after receiving the cochlear implant. Alves Costa is still happy about the result of his efforts and says that they are still in touch. Today, he is one of the leading authorities in the area of cochlear implant surgery. As a lecturer at the University of São Paulo, Alvez Costa has taught many doctors and audiologists. One of his former students, Marilisa Zavagli, is the Managing Director of Sonova do Brasil. Another one, Ana Luisa Pereira, is a product manager at Advanced Bionics.

Advanced Bionics is in a prime position to participate in these developments. Compared to other providers, our products are extremely reliable.

Luisa Pereira, product manager at Advanced Bionics

Just like in other countries, Advanced Bionics has grown a strong presence in Brazil, securing its close relationships with doctors and patients. Ana Luisa Pereira visits the university clinic in Bauru on a regular basis. She says: ”The relationship is based on a great amount of trust – almost like in a marriage. The doctors and their patients rely on our support.” Good customer service is very important for strengthening the success of Advanced Bionics. “It’s a growth market”, says Pereira. “The government is in the process of increasing capacity. Advanced Bionics is in a prime position to participate in these developments. Compared to other providers, our products are extremely reliable.” Brazil’s health system helps in cases of severe hearing loss and guarantees access to cochlear implants.

Currently recipients in Brazil can receive Harmony and Neptune sound processors. Neptune is the only fully waterproof processor. The new Naída CI Q70 sound processor has also received regulatory approval. Recipients have been able to benefit from the processor’s performance innovations since its launch in February 2014.

For us, patients come first – their trust is the greatest reward and a strong motivation for peak performance – every day.

Hansjürg Emch, Group Vice President Medical at Sonova and President of Advanced Bionics

Naída CI Q70 is a combination of the most progressive technologies from Advanced Bionics and Phonak. For example, the intelligent features of the processor facilitate improved speech perception and wireless connectivity. „We are committed to offering our recipients the best hearing experience possible“, says Hansjürg Emch, Group Vice President Medical at Sonova and President of Advanced Bionics. „For us, patients come first – their trust is the greatest reward and a strong motivation for peak performance – every day.”

At the Bauru pavilion for the cochlear implant patients, a couple is waiting for their child to return from surgery. Hands touching and obviously nervous, they are sitting on a wide sofa. But it also an optimistic tension: They curiously peek through the open door into the room next to them, where children’s voices can be heard. Most children in the rehabilitation group had no or next to no hearing when they came to Bauru for the first time. Now they have cochlear implants and attend school or kindergarten. In the afternoon, they regroup at the “Centrinho” for speech therapy and games.

“Let’s all sing together now” says the caregiver and claps her hands. Helena, a 7-year-old with two cochlear implants by Advanced Bionics, is standing in the middle. She sings, then laughs, and gives her mother a big hug when she is picked up.

 


 


 

If my daughter had a third ear, we would have the surgery done for that one too. The implants have completely changed her life.

Mother of Helena, a 7-year-old with two cochlear implants by Advanced Bionics

Helena’s mother has a message for other parents whose children have such severe hearing loss that they need a cochlear implant: “I highly recommend it”, she says. Today, Helena participates in rhythmic gymnastics, goes to ballet class; she leads a normal life.” She adds: “If my daughter had a third ear, we would have the surgery done for that one too. The implants have completely changed her life.”

Many children in Helena’s rehabilitation group wear cochlear implants from Advanced Bionics. One of them is the 8-year-old Samuel, who lost his hearing due to an infection when he was nine months old. His mother remembers: “Many people asked me whether I really wanted to put my son through the operation. They asked me whether it wouldn’t be a better idea to pray to God for a miracle.” She goes on to say: “To me the implant is a miracle.”


ENT-Specialist supports the Hear the World Foundation

Orozimbo Alves Costa in the garden of the university clinic – next to the sculpture of one of its founders,  José Alberto de Souza Freitas.

The Brazilian doctor and ENT-Specialist Orozimbo Alves Costa is one of the pioneers of cochlear implant surgery. As a Senior Professor for Otolaryngology, Alves Costa teaches and supervises master and doctoral students at the Audiological Research Centre HRAC of the University of São Paulo. He developed a program for cochlear implants for the Brazilian National Health Service. His main interests are otological surgery, cochlear implants, inner ear pathology and pediatric audiology.

The welfare of his patients is a matter of the heart for Alves Costa and connects to his aspiration to help as many people as possible. This is why he is an active volunteer in the Advisory Board of the Hear the World Foundation: “My own options to change other people’s lives are limited. But if I hand on my knowledge, they grow.” The Advisory Board is responsible for the evaluation of suitable projects. These are proposed to the Foundation Board, a group of personnel from the Sonova Group, for the allocation of foundation funds, keeping the foundation independent.


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