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YOUR HEALTH: An ear device allowing kids to hear for the first time

There’s a new way to help children born with a hearing defect known as Microtia.

ORLANDO, Florida –  Twelve year old Story Jackson was born with Microtia: her right external ear never developed resulting in the inability to hear from that ear.

It wasn't a problem until middle school.

"She kind of would feel left out," explained her mother Regan.

"If she's sitting on this side of the table and her friends are over here talking about something and everyone else is loud she was always like having to turn her head like, 'What?'."

Until recently, patients with the condition Microtia could either wear a bone-conduction hearing aid attached to a headband or have surgery to implant a screw or magnet into the skull to attach a hearing aid.

Now a newly FDA-approved adhesive device is changing that.

For Story, it could help her on her journey toward someday landing her dream job.

"One of the things I want to be when I'm older is an orthopedic surgeon. I would have to hear my surroundings and know what's going on, for the sake of my patient."

So when the Jackson family heard that the ADHEAR became FDA approved in 2018.

ADHEAR:  Its creator, MedEl, describes it as follows: "ADHEAR uses a unique adhesive adapter, so there is no pressure against the skin. Even though there's no direct pressure, the adhesive adapter design can still deliver equivalent output performance when compared to other non-surgical bone conduction systems.   The adhesive adapter makes it easy to ensure ADHEAR is always in the optimal position for reliable hearing performance.

Story became one of the first 25 people in the country to receive the stick-on device.

"It works by capturing the sounds through the microphone that's on the side that it's being worn and it sends those sounds basically through little vibrations through the bones in the skull to a hearing organ itself," said audiologist Jennie Chiles.

For Story, an instant change

"When it turned on, I was like I can't believe I can actually have this."

"When we got home she was like tapping her feet on the floor like listen to that because everything sounds different," said her mom.

At her two-week checkup, Story was hearing clearer than ever.

The maker of ADHEAR has its American operations located in North Carolina.

The ADHEAR device can come on an off with a click to the water-proof adhesive adapter.   That adapter has to be changed every three to seven days.

ADHEAR has been available since august 2018 and may be covered by insurance.

If this story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Jim Mertens at jim.mertens@wqad.com or Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at mthomas@ivanhoe.com.