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September 8, 2005

Help For the Hearing Impaired

From: KFYR-TV, ND - Sep 8, 2005

Kelly Cullivan

Hearing the birds chirp or the wind blow is something many of us take for granted. But for one man, those simple sounds mean everything.

Talking on the telephone is something Scott Lang hasn't been able to do for years because he couldn't hear the voice on the other end of the receiver. But thanks to this tiny device, called the Cochlear Implant, Scott hears things now that the rest of us sometimes wish we didn't...

"But I walked outside and all of a sudden I heard crickets. I haven't heard crickets for 30yrs, and everybody says, 'well why do you want to do that?' and i said 'well, it's pretty important."

Scott's hearing impairment created many challenges for him, especially at work.

"I would come over and get him and say scott, so and so is on the phone this is their question, what do you want to say," said Scott's coworker, Valeree King.

And it created frustrations many of us can't understand.

"I don't want to live this way any longer. My granddaughters would show up and I couldn't understand them."

But now, this Cochlear Implant, which is an electronic device that is surgically placed under the skin behind the ear, allows Scott to hear. This device on the *outside* of the ear is easily removed and attached by a magnet that is under Scott's skin.

"I just stood in the corner, and i go, 'good morning Scott,' in a normal voice, and he goes, 'good morning Valeree,' and i just started to cry because i had never had that conversation before," she said.

"I went to a meeting in our board room and it has to be the first time in 15years that i heard everybody at that table, and i was amazed. I just wanted to walk out and scream," said Scott.

The Cochlear Implants are not for everybody. they are only for patients who have tried just about everything, but are still unable to hear.

"If they have gone to the audiologist and have tried everything and the audiologist says this is as much sound as we can give you, and they still can't function in the normal everyday world, then it's time to investigate whether they need this procedure," said audiologist, Joe Ness.

An added benefit... Scott says his speech has improved, too. Another seemingly little thing...that made a huge difference.

©2005 KFYR TV