The broad smile on the face of Lemaima Sagapolu tells you what she is hearing: voices. When the Baha sound processor was turned on by an audiologist it was the first time Lemaima heard voices clearly.
Sagapolu lived her entire life hearing little to no sound. She relied on lip reading to know what friends and family were saying.
“I’ve been having problems since I was born,” Lemaima said. “It is so hard to hear but I pretended sometimes.”
Sagapolu became the first patient at Meriter Hospital to receive the Baha Bone Conduction System.
“With this technology, basically we’re able to get the sound directly to the inner ear. I tell patients it is sort of like if a bridge is out (and) we’re sort of finding an alternate way to get the sound to the inner ear,” said Dr. Neil Brown, an otolaryngologist at Meriter Hospital.
Brown surgically implanted a post behind the left ear of Sagaolu that the Baha device is attached to. The sound is then sent through the post, to the bone and received in the inner ear.
“It is a huge difference. It is a life changer,” Brown said.
When the Baha device was turned on Sagapolu was moved to tears.
“It is a frustrating problem, and I’m hoping other people that have the same problem like me try it. It is a miracle. It is a miracle,” Sagapolu said.