Article plus video/interview with the patient (saw the interview on this am's morning news). Local NF2 patient has successful sugery that restores his hearing after almost 10 yrs of being gone due to NF2/multiple surgeries. Another fantastic job out of Mass Eye and Ear in Boston, MA.
Rare Surgery Restores Manâ€™s Hearing After 10 Years
Mass Eye & Ear, MGH Doctors Implant
POSTED: 5:38 pm EST November 6, 2009
UPDATED: 6:09 pm EST November 6, 2009
BOSTON -- Danny Sanborn, 35, is a die-hard Red Sox fan, whose Scituate home is decked out in the teamâ€™s colors, banners and paraphernalia.
He loves his young niece, his dog, Precious, and his daily visits to the employees of Hennessey News and Hingham Federal Credit Union.
â€œHe'll go in there and talk and spend a lot of time,â€ said his mom, Dianne Kelley. â€œHe just feels comfortable. He knows everybodyâ€
But for nearly a decade, Sanbornâ€™s world has been silent.
â€œHe hadnâ€™t heard since he was 26 years old and he just turned 35,â€ said Kelley.
Benign tumors that grew out of nowhere destroyed the hearing pathways from Sanbornâ€™s ears to his brain. Itâ€™s a condition called neurofibromatosis, or NF2, a genetic condition that affects as many as 1 in 25,000 people, according to the National Institutes of Health
As his ability to hear faded Sanborn said, â€œI was kind of nervous. My understanding wasn't there. My balance wasn't there.â€
â€œItâ€™s been sad,â€ said Kelley. â€œBecause he wants to be like he used to be. He says, â€˜Mum I really want to hear again.â€™â€
This summer Sanborn agreed to a rare, somewhat risky surgery. Doctors from Mass. Eye & Ear and Massachusetts General Hospital cut into Sanbornâ€™s skull, exposing his brain. They implanted an auditory brain stem with 21 electrodes that have replaced his damaged and destroyed hearing nerves.
Just weeks after surgery, Dr. Daniel Lee, of Mass. Eye & Ear, turned on the implant, allowing Sanborn to hear sounds â€“ no matter how hazy â€“ for the first time in a decade .
â€œIt sounds, like, a little bit different but it's exciting to hear voices for the first time,â€ he said.
â€œItâ€™s a real learning time for Danny,â€ said Lee. â€œThe brain, if it's not receiving information or input, will begin to degenerate, but 10 years is not that much time. Heâ€™s had hearing in the pastâ€¦so this device hopefully taps into the network that's already pre-existing. And it almost, essentially re-awakens the system that has been quiet for at least a decade in his case.â€
Sanbornâ€™s hearing still isnâ€™t perfect, but itâ€™s improving all the time. He is increasingly able to hear sounds, including Red Sox games, and interact more fluidly and naturally with people once again.
â€œTo us that might seem limited,â€ said Lee. â€œBut to these patients it's actually a tremendous improvement.â€
â€œIt was just a miracle,â€ said Sanbornâ€™s mother when they turned on her sonâ€™s implant. â€œA miracle. He's wanted it for a long, long time. And he had faith, and now he has it.â€