Hearing Restored

Gulf Coast Healthy Living Magazine Volume 7, Issue 2 - Baptist Hospital

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Cochlear Implant Strengthens Family Bond

Being unable to hear her spouse and children speak for more than 40 years had become the norm for Joanne Kish. She heard nothing but humming sounds and spent years trying to read lips. Kish lost her hearing during pregnancy from a genetic hearing loss that can be affected by hormones. Over time, her hearing diminished even further, and previous tools like hearing aids were not working.

Three years ago Kish began working with audiologists at Baptist Health Care to explore options beyond her hearing aid. On Dec. 22, 2017, Kish had surgery to receive a cochlear implant. Then on Jan. 26, 2018, Kish’s implant was activated so she could hear for the first time.

Cochlear implants are electronic devices that restore the ability to hear and understand speech for people with moderate to severe hearing loss. The implant bypasses damaged hair cells in the cochlea and stimulates remaining nerve fibers directly through the application of an electrical current.

Kish was the first patient at Baptist Hospital to receive the cochlear implant. Thomas Babcock, M.D., is the area’s first otologist and neurotologist to perform this procedure on both adults and children.

“Cochlear implants for children and adults may be the most rewarding procedure I perform,” said Dr. Babcock. “For adults, the loss of hearing can lead to social isolation and decreased quality of life. Some of my most rewarding patients are adults with cochlear implants who are able to communicate with loved ones and interact in society after years of struggling with hearing loss.”

To read more about Joanne's story please visit Gulf Coast Healthy Living - Spring 2018 edition.