Thirty travel hours to reach your appointment

May 21, 2020
Dr. Kallam

James and Dewi Kallman, of Indonesia, first noticed a hearing problem in their daughter, Mei Lin, at 6 months when she failed to respond to their voices.  Doctors in Jakarta provided her with two hearing aids and a return appointment within a year. 

Worried about his daughter’s future health, James, an American, asked a doctor in the U.S. if he knew of anything else that could be done to help Mei Lin.  The doctor recommended a cochlear implant, an electronic device that is surgically implanted into the inner ear that uses small electrical currents to bypass damaged parts of the inner ear. A microphone, processor and transmitter are worn externally.

Feeling hopeful, Mei Lin and her parents traveled to the U.S. when she was 1 to have an implant inserted by an audiologist at the University of Miami. Five years later, at the age of 6, Mei Lin got a second implant at MUSC under the care of Ted Meyer, M.D., Ph.D., then director of the cochlear implant program. During that visit, they were touched by the treatment they received and delighted to have found a home for Mei Lin’s care. 

It was MUSC that the Kallmans again entrusted when during the summer of 2013, Mei Lin experienced issues with her left ear. Audiologist Meredith Holcomb discovered the device was malfunctioning; Meyer removed it and implanted a new one. Mei Lin’s ability to hear was restored and she began the next phase of her care with Holcomb, her audiologist, who activated and programmed the speech processor after surgery.

The relief that the Kallman’s felt was expressed in a letter to Meyer: “We all cannot thank you enough for your care of Mei Lin. We placed her in your hands and you delivered our little girl back to us with hearing. We cannot express thanks enough.”

Meyer alongside Holcomb stated, “Surgery is a very small part of what’s involved with a cochlear implant. The evaluation is extremely important. The surgery is important. And post-operatively, the rehabilitation that occurs, either at home as an adult, or with a speech therapist, and at home as a child, is really what’s important for development of speech and language with a cochlear implant.”

Since Meyer has been at the helm of MUSC’s cochlear implant program, the number of cochlear implant procedures has quadrupled. In 2004, Meyer and his staff followed approximately 100 patients. Today, they follow more than 700 patients and perform more than 130 cochlear implant surgeries a year.

When you give to the MUSC cochlear implant program, the future will be bright for many more children just like Mei Lin.


Keywords: Patient Stories