Rod Saunders, who sadly passed away in December 2007, was the world’s first cochlear implant recipient.
At the age of 46, Rod lost his hearing in a car accident. His devotion to his family made him want to hear again. Almost 30 years ago, he was Professor Graeme Clark’s first research cochlear implant recipient.
His pioneering spirit and perseverance with the initial prototype, made further technological advances possible which over 100,000 people globally, now benefit from. That first cochlear implant surgery took eight hours, and it was only at the third session that Rod heard sound. Many months of arduous programming sessions followed to develop an appropriate speech coding strategy.
Rod continued to be involved in further trials and testing, to reduce the size of the extensive electronics where sound was processed. Through his dedication, a compact speech processor was made possible.
Over the years, Rod remained dedicated to playing his part in advancing cochlear implant technology and continued to participate in clinical research.
“It’s just amazing how the cochlear implant has worked and how it has helped thousands of people to hear again.”
Cochlear would like to acknowledge Rod for his courage and significant contribution in the cochlear implant field. His legacy stays with us. He was a pioneer in the truest sense of the word.