Hearing Implants No Longer Reserved For Worst Cases

About 28-million Americans are hard of hearing.

Many have trouble hearing higher frequencies.

Hearing aids do not always help, and devices, like cochlear implants, are only reserved for the worst cases, until now.

Kathy Barger did not have a cold.

She actually had a hereditary disease that was causing her to go deaf.

A hearing aid did not work and Kathy had too much hearing left to benefit from a cochlear implant.

Then she learned of a new hybrid version.

Unlike the traditional model, the hybrid implant only adds high frequencies so patients can hear distinct sounds, like consonants.

Kathy said, "It's like whoa, I heard that. It's sort of shocking, because you're used to not hearing that and all of a sudden, it's gee, I can understand that."

Doctors implant the device in the inner ear to stimulate auditory nerves.

Kathy must work for months to re-learn to hear, but says it is well worth it.

The hybrid cochlear is currently being tested in clinical trials.

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