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May 19, 2003

New Hearing Aid

From: WLBT-TV, MS - May 19, 2003

25-million Americans have hearing problems. Doctors say that for those people who need a hearing aid, only 20% will wear one. That's because many people find hearing aids cumbersome, distorting and uncomfortable. But there's a relatively new invention called Retro-X that's making a difference for some patients.

Communicating is a little easier for one Lexington, KY couple... Now that Bud Gross has a new hearing aid for each ear. Gross says, "I'm not hearing one side and cotton in the other. I'm balanced and I can tell where things are coming from and it's like I have my old hearing back."

He credits Dr. Frank Hill's relatively new invention, Retro-X, a hearing aid implanted behind the ear. The doctor makes an incision and gently inserts this titanium tube. The sound goes through the tube and into the ear canal.

Dr. Hill is the only doctor in South Carolina, and until recently, in the nation, implanting Retro-X. Like other hearing aids, the Retro-X is not covered by insurance. The price tag? About $3800, which includes the surgery and the device.

Gross says, "When you put it on you can tell if you put it in the right place because as soon as it gets there, you can hear."

The retro x is implanted into a so-called "second ear canal" created with a small titanium tube.

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