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Local mom has sound streamed to Cochlear implant thanks to new device

Local mom has sound streamed to Cochlear implant thanks to new device (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - A mother of two young children says breakthrough technology allows her to hear in an entirely new way.

It's because of a new device that communicates with a smartphone.

A mom is calling her new device for hearing help nothing short of miracle technology.

A team at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center has been testing it as part of a pilot program.

“It is the most amazing thing in the entire world, going from complete silence to being able to hear your kids,” said Jess Toews.

When Jess first lost the hearing in her left ear due to a brain tumor surgery, she got a cochlear implant. That’s an electronic device that replaces the function of damaged in her inner ear.

“The very first words that I heard were, ‘I love you, mommy,’” said Jess.

A few years later, when the same condition took the hearing in her other ear, she got another device implanted. An “ABI” or an Auditory Brainstem Implant.

“So, basically bypassing the cochlea and stimulating her brain stem directly,” said Lisa Houston, a clinical audiologist.

This week she may be the first in the country to take both of those to the next level. Something her kids call the coolest thing ever.

It's called the “Nucleus 7.”

“The Nucleus 7 is a sound processor. It actually sits behind the patient's ear and processes the incoming sounds, but also will stream to a wireless device, so an iPhone, blue tooth, TV, that sort of thing,” said Houston.

The Nucleus 7 sound processor is the world’s first and only made-for-iPhone cochlear implant sound processor.

“Thursday I got the Nucleus 7 activated,” said Jess.

The device allows Jess to do many things in real time that she could not do until now.

“I can’t wait to call my kids to show them I can see them and hear them at the same time [using FaceTime on iPhone] it's pretty exciting,” said Jess.

The device just hit the market on September 5th, so Jess may be the first to be using the streaming device with the brain stem and cochlear implant combo.

Cochlear implants are covered by medical insurance plans and as part of that in most cases, it is covered as well.

It is not yet compatible with Android devices.

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