NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – A cochlear implant is a device that bypasses damaged portions of the ear and delivers sound signals directly to the hearing nerve. But for years, the devices, which rely on magnets, have not been compatible with MRI machines, which operate on magnetic fields. Now, new improvements in technology have made them a viable option for patients who couldn’t have considered them before. One New York woman’s implant produced life-changing results.
Toni Iacolucci’s struggle with her hearing started 25 years ago when a non-cancerous tumor blocked the hearing in her right ear. Then in 2006, she went to her son’s high school band concert, and for that night, didn’t wear ear plugs.
“I was unplugged, and I went home that night, and II was having a hard time hearing,” Iacolucci explained.
Doctors don’t know why, but one week later, the hearing in her left ear was gone.
Shortly after, her son, Gian Stone, began to rise in the music world, producing songs for Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, and the Jonas brothers.
Gian took his mom to the 2019 Grammy’s. Even with a hearing aid, Toni couldn’t hear music clearly.
“It was such a big part of his life, and I couldn’t be a part of it anymore,” Toni said.
Weill Cornell Medicine’s Professor of Audiology, Joseph Montano said, “Hearing impairment is much more complex than just the idea of, you know, you have a little problem hearing, let’s put a hearing aid in, and everything will be fine.”
For years, other options were out. Toni needed yearly MRIs to monitor the tumor near her right ear, so, she couldn’t go into the machine with a cochlear implant. But then, a new design allowed the magnet in the device to twist and reorient when exposed to the magnetic field in the scanner.
Toni had the device implanted last January and was able to hear clearly again. Now, she can be part of the conversation at a crowded family dinner and can hear and appreciate her son’s songs.
The FDA approved one MRI-compatible cochlear implant late in 2019, and several other FDA approved versions followed.
By the way, Toni’s son is nominated, once again, for a 2022 Grammy award. Toni will be watching and listening to hear if his name is called – as a winner.
Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.
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