Cochlear implant patient shares her story

Published: Jul. 21, 2011 at 11:53 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 22, 2011 at 10:53 PM CDT
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - A Cape Girardeau woman shares her personal story after having a cutting edge procedure that's helping hundreds of thousands of people hear.

Megan Goncher just received her Cochlear Implants in May in St. Louis. The 26 year old says after going completely deaf at 24 she's finally reconnecting with so many things she'd missed.

"I babysat for my nephew and I was in the living room and I could hear him cry," said Goncher. "I had to take a minute. I had never heard that before."

She says the sweet sounds she's hearing for the first time are thanks to the cochlear implants.

A birth condition caused Goncher to eventually lose her hearing completely at 24. Now, at 26 her hearing aids weren't cutting it anymore. She says she was losing touch with her family and the world around her.

"Everything was completely off balance," said Goncher. "You can't interact all you can do is watch."

She made the decision to get the implants, a call she says wasn't easy.

"Your natural hearing is destroyed if you have any left," said Goncher. "It's hard to come to grips with something natural being taken from you."

She had the procedure at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. Surgeons place electrodes in the cochlear and attach it to a receiver under the skin. A transmitter is placed outside the head on the receiver allowing patients like Megan to hear.

"Surgery was four hours long," recalls Megan.

She says recovery came with unexpected obstacles.

"I have a lot of fatigue because I'm taking in so many sounds for the first time, "said Goncher.

"It's truly life-changing," said Dr. Gail Neely, who performed the surgery.

"Megan is lucky because her family did everything right. She has a wonderful support system. She is making great progress," said Dr. Neely.

Megan says the implants don't make her hearing perfect.

"It's still a mechanical device," said Goncher.

Meanwhile, she says the device has completely changed her world and gave her back wonderful sounds she never thought she'd enjoy again.

"I can hear my family and have wonderful conversations with them," said Goncher.

Megan also says she's hearing cars on the street and enjoying music for the first time in three years.

Soon she will only have to have check ups regularly. She advises anyone considering implants to get a lot of feedback from doctors and other patients.

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