City Woman Is 120,000th Recipient of Cochlear Implant
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For nearly 40 years, 72-yearold Susan Grossman suffered progressive hearing loss that restricted her use of the telephone and made listening to her favorite singer, Frank Sinatra, impossible.
That changed yesterday, when doctors activated a device that had been implanted in the Upper East Side woman’s ear. Three weeks ago, Mrs. Grossman became the 120,000th person since 1982 to receive a cochlear implant, a device that restores hearing to people with hearing loss by stimulating their auditory nerves.
During a surgical procedure, the implant is inserted into the ear. Later, an external component of the device, including a microphone, is attached.
“You’re going to start hearing beeping sounds,” a supervising audiologist at New York University Langone Medical Center’s Cochlear Implant Center, William Shapiro, told Mrs. Grossman yesterday when she returned to the hospitaltohavethedevice”turned on.”
Mrs. Grossman’s eyebrows twitched impatiently as she waited for the first tone.
“I can hear myself,” Mrs. Grossman said, and then mouthed the words, “Oh, my God.”
Asked if she heard the chattering of others in the room, Mrs. Grossman said she did not. Nor did she hear the clicking of camera shutters as photographers snapped her picture during a news conference. But when she heard her husband, Bob, interrupt her, she told him, “Watch it.”
As she listened to herself speak for the first time, she further observed that her voice sounded louder than she recalled. “I’m really sorry I used to scream at my kids,” she said, recalling times she disciplined her children. “It must have been awful.”