New hearing aid allows young man to hear for the first time

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Dr. Sapna Parikh reports on a new hearing aid that is enabling a man who was born deaf to hear for the first time. (WABC)

As an athlete, Terrell Davis couldn't hear his teammates or his coach. This young man from Harlem was born deaf --with ears that never fully formed or worked. A month ago, 2 surgeons at Lenox Hill Hospital corrected the bones in his face, rebuilt his left ear and implanted a new device-- called the "baha"-- a bone anchored hearing aid.

Dr. Darius Kohan, director of otology at Lenox Hill Hospital explained that the magnet in the hearing aid vibrates the inner ear.

They performed the operation for free through the Baby Face foundation-- helping children abroad and here at home.

Dr. Thomas Romo, director of facial plastics and reconstructive surgery at Lenox Hill said:

"There are children in this city who have birth defects that go untreated...he's such a wonderful young man we hope this affects his future employment and life in a positive way."

Since the device was activated, Terrell says he can now watch TV and video chat with his friends

"I can communicate with people I can hear everything."

And with the help of a bluetooth transmitter-- he can hear music for the first time

"I listen to rock music, I listen to metal, sometimes pop, country."

"We wake up and we don't think about not being able to hear...he's definitely enjoying it I can see it on his face," said Brenda Davis, Terrell's mother.

The way a hearing device looks is important. If it's too big, too obvious or too embarrassing, people will not wear it.

The older version of the implant had a metal pin -- so uncomfortable, Terrell preferred to be deaf. The new device attaches to a magnet that's hidden under the skin.

Dr. Kohan hopes this leads to big changes for Terrell.

"We're hoping his level of communication, socializing educational level is going to improve tremendously with leaps and bounds. He can hear now."

Terrell is still getting used to hearing-- and to speaking instead of using sign language. But with high school graduation around the corner, he dreams of one day becoming a doctor.
Related Topics:
healthhearing aidbone anchored hearing aiddeafLenox Hill HospitalBaby Face Foundation
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