Westport seventh-grader raises $26,000 for cochlear implant research

Matthew Reiser

Matthew Reiser

contributed photo

A seventh-grader at Bedford Middle School recently raised $26,000 for cochlear implant research during his bar mizvah celebration at Temple Israel.

Matthew Reiser, having used a cochlear implant since age four to offset profound hearing loss since birth, asked family and friends to donate to the NYU Cochlear Implant Center instead of giving gifts to him, according to a news release from his family. The center, which recently unveiled a donor plaque in Reiser's honor, will use the funds to develop waterproof and more durable technology for the implants, the release states.

A cochlear implant is a small, electronic device that can help provide a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or severely hard-of-hearing, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. The device consists of an external portion that sits behind the ear and a second portion that is surgically placed under the skin.

An implant does not restore normal hearing but can give a deaf person a useful representation of sounds in the environment and help him or her to understand speech, according to the institute.

Further donations may be made by check payable to NYU Langone Medical Center with "Matthew Reiser's Bar Mitzvah" in the memo section and mailed to Melissa Halbridge, Associate Director of Development, NYU Langone Medical Center, One Park Avenue, 17th Floor, New York, NY 10016.