Riverview Unveils Treatment for Single-Side Deafness
The Red Bank hospital is the only hospital in Monmouth and Ocean Counties to provide the treatment.
At the age of 4, Meryl Boker battled spinal meningitis. The disease caused nerve damage and left her completely deaf in her right ear. Throughout school, Boker was forced to sit at the front of the class and adjust her life to cope with her deafness.
A new treatment available at Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank now has the potential to reverse single-sided deafness. Called the Baha 3 System, the ocular implant bypasses a damaged middle or outer ear and sends sound directly to the inner ear. According to a release, Baha sends the sound via the skull bone from the deaf side of the inner ear to the hearing side.
This transfer of sound gives the patient 360-degree sound awareness.
Boker, 43, of Wall, said she had to navigate her life while trying to read lips and compensate for only being able to hear 50 percent of the sound around her. For nearly four decades Boker didn't know what it was like to hear out of both ears.
That's all changed now.
“This procedure has changed my life forever,” Boker said in a release. “I can finally have a conversation with my son in the back seat of the car, and I am listening to every drop of music I’ve missed out on in the last 40 years. I owe my new life to Dr. DeGennaro and Riverview and am so proud to say I work for a hospital system that could bring this level of care right to my doorstep. I want to now pay it forward and tell as many people as I can about this amazing technology.”
The treatment is being provided by Anthony DeGennaro, M.D., FACS, a Cornell-trained, board certified, ear, nose, throat, and facial cosmetic surgeon affiliated with Riverview Medical Center, part of Meridian Health, according to a release from the hospital
“The ability to provide this procedure for my patients ranks as one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done in my 30-year career as a physician,” DeGennaro said. “The Baha procedure is covered by almost all health care plans, including Medicare, and patients typically go home the very same day. Additional benefits are the procedure is completely reversible, and can be done under IV sedation without the need for general anesthesia. The device is smaller than a Bluetooth and comes in many shades to match a patient’s hair color.”
To learn more about the procedure, check out the YouTube video embedded above.