For Harry Giberson, life has never been at full volume until doctors with Summit Health provided him with a new hearing option. Now, everything comes in “loud and clear.”
Giberson – who has suffered hearing loss problems since he was a baby – is the first patient to receive a Bone Anchored Hearing Aid, or Baha, from Dr. Joshua Dunklebarger of Summit ENT and Hearing Services, an affiliate of Summit Health, located in Summit Health Center - Building 1, 22 St. Paul Dr., Suite 202, Chambersburg.
When the audiologists turned on the power to the 73-year-old Hustontown resident’s Baha, it changed his life.
“It brought tears to my eyes,” he said. “A lot of people are curious because not too many know about it. So, to have a doctor recommend this, to have a doctor you believe in, that’s a good thing.”
Developed by Cochlear, Baha uses bone conduction to transfer sound to the inner ear. The system is made up of three parts:
• The sound processor sits behind the ear and picks up sound through a microphone before it is converted into vibrations.
• The abutment connects the sound processor to a titanium implant allowing for proper transfer of sounds.
• The titanium implant is placed behind the ear and allows sounds to be transferred as vibrations through the bone to the inner ear.
While some may be apprehensive about the titanium implant, Giberson said there was no pain whatsoever during the procedure that took less than an hour.
The hardest part was actually having to return the test model and wait the standard 8 to 10 weeks between when the implant is placed and the sound processor is connected.
“That was a tough time not hearing again. For years, I listened to the TV so loud and had finally been able to turn it down,” Giberson said. “I’d recommend it for sure, but you’ve got to realize you have to wait a few weeks before you get the device again.”
Giberson had multiple surgeries before he was finally evaluated by Dr. Dunklebarger, an Ear, Nose and Throat surgeon with Summit Health.
“Dr. Dunklebarger asked me ‘Would you like to hear again?’ and they gave me one of the trial devices. I hated to give it up,” he said.
Prior to his decision to go with the Baha device, Giberson and his wife of 53 years, Carolyn, were not only provided with research from the doctors, but also got the chance to meet with someone who had a device.
“We were a little afraid, of course. It’s something new, but we’ve adjusted,” Carolyn Giberson said.
“It’s going to change our life dramatically. I’ve spent years saying things over and over. I’m always with him because he needed an interpreter,” Carolyn Giberson said. “People would think he’s not sociable, but you’d have to tap his shoulder first so he’d know you’re talking.”
Having spent most of their married life in New Jersey where Harry Giberson worked as a groundskeeper at a high school, he retired in 2000 and they later moved to Hustontown, where Carolyn Giberson’s mother had been born and raised.
While the trip from Hustontown takes some time, the Gibersons have migrated almost all of their doctors to Summit Health after learning about the range of services provided.
“We couldn’t believe it,” Carolyn Giberson said. “We moved all of our doctors over here because of the progressiveness. When we actually came here for his hearing, all of our records were already here for the doctors to see, which makes a difference.”
The doctors and audiologists at Summit ENT and Hearing Services are excited to help other hearing loss patients, like Giberson, who could benefit from a Baha hearing device.