Patrick Center August 14, 2013 | WGVU “Plug your good ear with your finger.
”From three feet behind Janice Fike’s deaf ear a whisper.
“How long did it take you to get here today?”
“Oh, yeah, I hear now.”
"How long did it take you to get here today?”
The sound is picked up by a tiny microphone resting behind Fike’s bad ear that’s transmitted to, of all places, her mouth. This is where a small, custom molded retainer holds a hearing device, the size of a Chiclet, hugging a pair of molars near the good ear. It uses the principle of bone conduction.
“Where we transmit the sound via vibration directly to the other side, to the other ear or the other cochlea, and that ear will now pick up the sound.”
Dr. Stelios Dokianakas says most, but not everyone, is a candidate for the FDA approved SoundBite Hearing System.
“For the first couple of days patients will notice it. Their tongue will go there. They’ll just notice something new and different. After that they adapt and forget about it."
His Holland Doctors of Audiology is the first to offer it in the west side of Michigan.Its maker, California-based Sonitus Medical, calls it the first non-surgical and removable hearing solution.
“I don’t hear people that are coming up behind me.”
“Just from a safety perspective, not to mention quality of life, the sound quality is remarkable,” explains Sonitus consultant, Alain Adam.
“The most intrinsically rewarding position I’ve ever had. I’ve sold laparoscopic instrumentation for bariatric procedures. I’ve sold da Vinci robots but by far, to see the instant reaction by patients it’s been just the most rewarding job I’ve had.”
For janice Fike, “I’m amazed by the word recognition because word recognition has been a problem.”
Dr. Dokianakis says total cost can be up to $6,000 but most insurance plans foot the bill.
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