Dec 2019

WISH-TV’s own Patty Spitler experienced hearing in her left ear for the first time in decades Friday after doctors turned on her cochlear implant.

In 1987 Patty was diagnosed with Ménière’s disease, a degenerative inner ear condition with no cure. It typically affects one ear but Patty lost part of her hearing in both ears. For the next three decades Patty has relied on hearing aids, especially in her higher-functioning right ear, to continue to work at WISH-TV as an entertainment reporter and later as host of Great Day TV and Pet Pals TV. This year Patty said her hearing had reached a low considered “profound,” and continual adjustments to her hearing aid weren’t possible.

Patty Spitler

She decided to undergo brain and ear surgery to place a cochlear implant in her left ear last month. “They put in the implant, attached it to my brain…so now the sound comes directly in here (the implant), where as for if you’re a regular hearing person sound goes through your ear,” said Spitler. “My ear has been bypassed.”

In a life-changing audiologist appointment at Midwest Ear Institute Friday, Patty’s cochlear implant was activated and for the first time in decades, she could hear sound through her left ear. “What I’m hearing now on this side is some noises. My brain over the next few weeks and months will have to go ‘oh that’s a word,'” she said. Patty is hoping she can get 70% of her hearing back in her left ear. She said sharing the story of her journey was important to her to show others in the hearing loss community that there are other options available.

“Technology is amazing now,” said Spitler. “If you can take advantage of it, if you want to, that can be your choice.” Patty will continue hosting Great Day TV and Pet Pals TV with the help of her hearing aid-assisted right ear, and cochlear implant-assisted left ear.

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