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Breakthrough ‘rib bone’ ear procedure takes place for first time in UK

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A 29-year-old has become one of the first individuals in the UK to try curing their hearing loss through a procedure that sees their ear being reconstructured using bone from one of his ribs.  

The treatment, which took place in December 2012 at the Lauriston Building in Edinburgh, saw the bone device being fitted in essentially as a middle ear implant. Behaving as an ear drum, the procedure is being used for patients who cannot fit in hearing aids.

Brian Hogg, who underwent the procedure, had originally been born with a genetic disorder known as Treacher Collins Syndrome, which causes disruptions in the development of the neck and head. Not only has his hearing been affected but he cannot even adopt normal hearing aids that help thousands of people across the UK every year.

Under the scheme, an audio processor is attached to the head and picks up any sound waves. These waves are then amplified and passed through the bone to the inner ear. Acting like a normal hearing aid, doctors hope that this hearing loss treatment could become more widespread if deemed a success. NHS Lothian has stated that Mr Hogg was the first person in the UK to undergo the operation, which saw bone being removed from one of his ribs.

Mr Hogg has already revealed that he has noticed a difference in the range of sounds that he can now hear since the operation. He further stated that he can hear distant noises, something he did not used to be able to.

Alex Bennett, the consultant who performed the procedure, said: "This is a truly innovative procedure and I'm sure the device will make a significant difference to Brian and many other patients like him. The Bonebridge implant is intended to improve hearing by replicating the actions of the ear drum.”

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