June 2017 CBS Minnesota WCCO

A White Bear Lake woman hears her daughter’s voice for the first time, and it’s all thanks to the new cochlear implants she was fitted with by the University of Minnesota. Nathalie Carrigan was finally able to hear her 3-year old speak. Her cochlear implants are working better than she could have ever imagined. “Things sound exactly how I remember them, songs sound exactly like I remember them,” she said.

Nathalie had progressive hearing loss diagnosed in childhood and got worse over the years. Her profound inner ear hearing loss made her a great candidate for cochlear implants. “It’s just so different from hearing with a hearing aid,” she said. “That’s just kind of more muffled noise and the cochlear implant is so clear and so crisp.” Nathalie’s first sounds were those of her 3-year-old, Maeve. “It’s amazing, like noises,” she said. “Like, you guys all sound alien.” Nathalie says she can now enjoy life with her family, without barriers. “I can listen to the radio, I can listen to my kids talking in the car,” she said. “I think it’s just the daily stuff that I’m most excited about.”

Audiologist Dianna Hart says Nathalie is experiencing a new way of  hearing. This visit, six weeks after surgery, is to make sure Nathalie’s implants are working properly. “We are looking at each individual electrode,” Hart said. “Each electrode is a different region of pitches so we are playing different pitches to Nathalie and make sure each pitch is set comfortably.” Hart says Natalie is doing better than expected because she remembers how things use to sound, making it easier to adjust to the cochlear implants.

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