KENNEWICK, WA - Music, laughter, your parent's voices... imagine never hearing any of those things. Whether you're born without the sense of sound or lose your hearing later in life, there are steps you can take to remedy the silence. It's new to the Tri-Cities.
Cochlear implants are a relatively new technology, only earning FDA approval in the United States in the mid-80's. Until now, patients hoping to hear had to travel to Spokane, Seattle or Portland. But now, Columbia Basin Hearing Center just finished their training with Cochlear to offer the surgery in the Tri-Cities region. It's an outpatient procedure that only takes a day. A small magnet is attached to the skull and then the user has a hearing aid type device they wear over an ear.
"The children are the ones that are just tear-jerkers and really fun. This baby that hasn't been able to hear their mom talking to them, to see that reaction even if it's just a startle and kind of a very confused moment is really neat," said Director of Audiology, Shannon Aiello.
Around 60,000 people in the U.S. have Cochlear implants and more than half of them are children.