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Bone-anchored hearing aid helps Big Country teen hear clearly

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ABILENE, Texas - A new procedure at Abilene Regional Medical Center is allowing people with hearing loss to able to hear again.

Gage Hoskins, 15, is the first patient in the Big Country to receive a tiny, magnetic-like hearing aid. It's called Cochlear BAHA, or bone-anchored hearing aid.

"Well now I can hear," Hoskins said at Abilene Regional Medical Center Friday.

The device is surgically implanted behind the ear and uses magnets to connect a sound processor to the implant.

"Bone-anchored hearing aids are much crisper and much clearer," said Dr. Jason Acevedo, of Abilene Regional Medical Center. "They're very advanced technology. They have Bluetooth and they connect to your phone and you can listen to an iPod or talk on the phone right through the implant. It's a specific technology that conducts sound through the bone for folks that have mechanism hearing loss."

"Before I got this, it sounded like everyone was kind of wearing a mask or something," Hoskins said. "Now I can hear so much clearer."

Doctors at ARMC said the device is usually put on patients with hearing loss, not those who are considered deaf.

It's about a 45-minute surgery, and doctors can often implant it without general anesthesia.

Gage's parents remember the first time he was able to hear them clearly in December.

"If I was in the kitchen and Gage was in the bathroom, even with his door open, I'd have to scream two or three times," said Tracy Hoskins, Gage's mother. "Now if I just whisper his name, he's like, ‘what do you need?' This is crazy."

Acevedo said if you suffer from hearing loss, you can get tested to see if the procedure could help you. He said the device is expensive, but most insurance providers do cover it.

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