Update on Malala- more surgery to come

January 31st, 2013

Keeping up on this story about the young girl shot for blogging about her objections to school closures in Pakistan, Malala Yousafzai us returning to a British hospital for further surgeries.

In addition to reconstructive surgery for her head, there is a plan for cochlear implant surgery as her injuries left her completely deaf in one ear. As a former speech pathologist who has taken numerous courses in audiology and deaf education, this seems extremely unusual. This kind of surgery is normally seen only in severely hard of hearing or deaf individuals. Where there is one, normally functioning ear, such intervention is not generally considered. Even hearing aids are rarely prescribed where one normal ear is present. There are some down-sides to having only one functioning ear (e.g. difficulty with sound localization), but training can help compensate for that problem.

Does anyone know why this is taking place? As always, best wishes to this courageous young woman.

Categories: Letters

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  1. Jco

    It’s possible she was implanted with a Baha, which is a bone anchored hearing aid that can be used for unilateral hearing loss. I am an audiologist and was wondering the same thing.

  2. agasaya


    Thanks for your reply. I contacted ASHA about these issues since I’ve been seeing a very large incidence of unilateral implants being done on very young children, even below the one year level.
    They appear to be concerned about their ethical implications for dealing with these ‘off-label’ surgical issues. I’ll check on the brand you mention, thanks. Would you like me to post your comment or leave this exchange between us?


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