New Hearing Implant Enhances Hearing of Twin Sisters
“Good afternoon, can I help you?”
“I have a one o’clock appointment today with Carisa.”
I’ve been going to Boys Town since I was very, very young to work with them on my hearing loss. I have a degenerative hearing loss that we started noticing when I was in grade school. All the hearing that I have is below the normal range of hearing and in that there are specific sounds that I can’t actually hear at all, S-H, T-H and a lot of the soft sounds.
My hearing loss, I think, is around the same level and it manifests in exactly the same way, as far as, the spottiness of it, the things that we can hear, and over the years what we have lost as far as the higher pitches and things.
The things I know I used to be able to hear as a child or even 10 years ago that I can’t hear as an adult. The example I use is my Dad does a whistle when he walks in the front door and I realized at one point I couldn’t hear it anymore.
We had looked into hearing aids in the past and they hadn’t really worked out for us because of the specific hearing loss that we have. We kind of always worked through it and read lips and stuff like that.
We had always been checking in with Boys Town for technology that could be helping us. They had started this study with the type of cochlear implant that I ended up getting, where it’s a hearing aid and a cochlear implant. We started discussing it and it sounded like it was the perfect thing for somebody with my kind of specific type of hearing loss to look into.
We’re one of 10 institutions around the nation that are participating in the study of this particular device. The processor takes sounds from the environment, interprets them as being high or low and presents them either acoustically or an electrical stimulation. It does this very fast and does it based on the patient’s needs, which is a very unique processor.
Jennifer’s implant was surgically inserted on June 11, 2012.
The implant was activated one month later.
“The blatant display of favoritism was shocking to the class.”
With normal, nothing going on, I was hearing about 33 percent, actual speech, not just noises, but understanding the words that were being said.
At this point I’m at 95 percent speech recognition in this ear. It’s already helped me professionally. The job that I have right now I wouldn’t be able to do. I was on the phone all day today with people and I used to not be able to talk on the phone at all.
In my personal life I didn’t know that microwaves when you hit the buttons and suddenly there are all these timers on things like my oven that I never knew were there before but suddenly it makes a noise when it’s done cooking. I had no idea!
“This green line would match these and our only concerns are these two low pitches.”
It gets cool slowly and over time. It’s not like this instantaneous benefit. It’s something where you immediately see the potential but then it’s sort of a slow process of actually realizing it. There’s a lot of patience and perseverance to get through it but there are little cool things to get you through it all the time. Like I said, the little noises that you hear that you never heard before. Those are little tiny victories you have all the time to kind of carry through the process.
Michaela will also participate in the trial. Her surgery is scheduled for June 2013.
Finding out that Jenny was doing it, I immediately wanted to be a part of the study as well. It’s something I was very interested in and the sooner the better, as far as, doing something to improve my hearing.
Boys Town is the only group in Omaha that’s currently involved in this study and has access to that technology. We like to think we are at the cutting edge of communicative disorders here at Boys Town. That’s one of the things that we are all about. We think that it opens up a large population that is currently under served in terms of their hearing loss and we now have a tool that we can really help them with.
I do feel very lucky to have grown up here and have this environment, such a great facility and we’ve always had such good experiences here with the audiologists and the people we have worked with. It has been nothing but a positive experience for me.
Jennifer and Michaela Tesar are identical twin sisters enrolled in a new hearing implant clinical trial at Boys Town National Research Hospital. Boys Town Hospital is one of 15 centers across the country, and the only center in Nebraska, testing the new Electric Acoustic Stimulation (EAS) device, manufactured by MED-EL Corporation.