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Five-month-old Becomes One of Youngest Patients to Receive Cochlear Implants

After becoming profoundly deaf due to bacterial meningitis, a Pennsylvania baby becomes one of the youngest people in the United States to receive cochlear implants—and all during the pandemic, when doctor’s offices and hospitals were severely limited in terms of visitation.

Written By: Rin-rin Yu

After becoming profoundly deaf due to bacterial meningitis, a Pennsylvania baby becomes one of the youngest people in the United States to receive cochlear implants—and all during the pandemic, when doctor’s offices and hospitals were severely limited in terms of visitation.

In mid-March, Annelise Frisco was hospitalized with a high fever and was successfully treated for bacterial meningitis. However, she was left profoundly deaf in both ears. In the meantime, she was being visited by doctors virtually. They noted in an MRI that her inner-ear fluid was turning into bone.

Though she was shy of five months, doctors knew they had to act quickly if they were to place implants, which are typically done at about 9-12 months. The procedure was done at Nemours duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware, during the summer.

“Even when I wake her up [from] a nap, and turn her ears on, or her implants on, then her face just completely changes, and she starts babbling and it seems like she is catching up right where she should be,” Kelsey Frisco, Annelise’s mom, told NBC News in an interview.

Annelise will continue to follow up with audiologists and undergo speech therapy as well.

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