Hearing implant follow up: New life for retired service man

After "living with" an implant for a while, Bob Edgin reflects on new life with sound.
After "living with" an implant for a while, Bob Edgin reflects on new life with sound.

NORTH ALABAMA (WAFF) - Bob Edgin is quite the character and "cuts up" about everything, even the implant which helps him hear. "I also turn it off sometimes when the preacher is talking directly to me."

He can joke about his hearing implant now, but he admits it's better than what he had. "When you wear a hearing aid, you've got a plug in your ear, it's basically a microphone that's trying to drive the sound up where you can hear it."

Edgin said there were drawbacks. "But you have to maintain it. You have to change the batteries. You've got to clean it occasionally. And every time you go to take a shower, it's got to come out. Go swimming...got to come out."

Even simple pleasures like watching a movie with his wife were difficult. "I'd have to turn it up to 90 out of a hundred and just blow the walls out and still have to ask the wife what'd they say?

His wife, Karen Edgin, agrees, "The TV would be up so loud that it was uncomfortable."

Hearing isn't something that just affected Bob, it also affected his wife.

"In this case, I was telling him what they said over and over," adds Karen.

She said it was frustrating. "And then you feel guilty about feeling frustrated because it's nothing they can help, it's not. At least I didn't think he was purposefully ignoring me."

But the Esteem Implant is different and Bob said the patient has an external control. "It's fully implanted, so there is no external components. Three programs and each program has six different sound levels."

Bob shows us where his implant is located. During surgery an incision made behind the ear to allow access to the middle ear space. Part of the device is placed there. It's connected the processor under the scalp.

Bob said after a week he could take a shower. But everything had to heal for about six weeks before techs turned on the device.

"The other day he told me, oh the dryer stopped," added Karen.

Other little things like recognizing the microwave timer have her thrilled. "...and I remember thinking, wow that's really something!"

Something that has bolstered their relationship, and the family's, through better communication.

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