Thursday, December 14, 2006
Medical Reports: Envoy (R) Hearing Device
We often take for granted what we hear -- but imagine if you couldn't hear anything at all. For 31 million people that thought is a reality. Now a cutting-edge hearing device could help bring music to people's ears. 7's Richard Lemus shows us this new hearing helper.
WSVN -- Let's face it, the world is not a quiet place.
While some of us would love to drown out the sounds of everyday life, for others, hearing the hustle and bustle would be a welcomed change.
Marlene Hunter: "When I was five years old, I developed the mumps and that caused nerve damage to my hearing."
Since that day, Marlene's hearing has gone from bad to worse.
Hunter: "Missing out on a lot of hearing and doing things and going places in just my natural environment not knowing what was going on."
Up until now, people suffering from hearing loss have had to rely on hearing aids, something Dr. Moises Arriaga says is far from perfect.
Dr. Moises Arriaga: "They cause feedback, they cause an inclusion effect that makes it not sound very clean, and they really have a lot of problems with background sounds."
But times are changing and this could mean music to Marlene's ears.
Dr. Arraiga is studying the new implantable Envoy (R) hearing system.
Dr. Arriaga: "There is absolutely nothing externally seen or worn by the patient, so the device can be worn all the time."
The device would be implanted behind the ear as sound is collected by crystals on a wire and processed through the battery. It is then sent to a wire attached to the ear bones.
Dr. Arriaga: "Patients are describing that the sound is more natural and clearer than they ever remembered it."
In order to understand her clients, Marlene used to read their lips in the mirror.
But, last May, she received the Envoy (R) device and it has been changing her life ever since.
Marlene Hunter: "I could be out in the world more and listening and talking to people understanding them, and I could communicate much better."
With her hearing restored, Marlene keeps her eyes focused on her job and her ears open at all times.
Researchers are waiting for FDA approval of the hearing device.
Meanwhile, the only upkeep the device needs is a change of battery every four years.
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