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February 17, 2003

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From: WROC, NY - 17 Feb 2003

The latest advance in hearing aid technology has come to Rochester. It's an implantable hearing aid called the "RetroX."

In this News 8 Now exclusive, Elizabeth Harness talks with the doctor who is the first in the state to use this "almost invisible" technology.

33 million people nationwide have a hearing problem...but only one-sixth wear a hearing aid.

Dr. Jules Musinger-Hearing Specialist "Most people cannot tolerate something in the ear canal which causes an obstruction or occlusion in the ear canal."

Enter this little device--it's on the outside, tucked behind the upper half of the ear.

Dr. Jules Musinger-Hearing Specialist "It's just like wearing an earring."

Dr. Jules Musinger is the first doctor in New York to use the RetroX.

Dr. Jules Musinger-Hearing Specialist "Procedure takes no more than 10 or 15 minutes, the amount of bleeding or oozing is very small."

A hollow tube about the length of a penny is inserted at the back of the ear. The hearing module snaps into the tube...

Dr. Jules Musinger-Hearing Specialist "Most people would not even be aware you have anything."

It may be hard to visualize, but inside this little module, barely the size of the tip of my finger is actually a computer chip and on that chip is an analysis of one's hearing loss that's all programmed by this computer.

Dr. Jules Musinger-Hearing Specialist "If the individual has this for over a period of time and he looses hearing, we can reprogram this digital to make up for any loss he's lost along the way." Dr. Jerry Svboda got his RetroX implant last December.

Dr. Jerry Svboda-RetroX Patient "Past five years perhaps, I noticed my hearing was slowly deteriorating."

But traditional hearing aids only made his job tougher.

Dr. Jerry Svboda-RetroX Patient "You feel like when your fingers are in your ears and sound is somehow being put on top of that."


Dr. Jerry Svboda-RetroX Patient "It's a brighter sounding world to me."

Even though the RetroX has a metal tube, it does not interfere with security scanners, having a MRI or CAT scan. And, you can get it wet as long as the digital component is removed.

Dr. Jules Musinger-Hearing Specialist "Then you're left with a tube, a hollow tube and there is a cover."

Dr. Jerry Svboda-RetroX Patient "It's like many things, it just fades into the background as it blends into your life."

If the patient doesn't like the device when all is said and's a quick fix...

Dr. Jules Musinger-Hearing Specialist "Just take it out--heals over in a couple of weeks."

The RetroX costs about three thousand dollars. That includes the surgery, equipment and digital module.

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