Mother’s Journey With Cochlear Implants Documented On TLC Show

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A White Bear Lake woman hears her daughter’s voice for the first time, and it’s all thanks to the new cochlear implants she was fitted with by the University of Minnesota.

Nathalie Carrigan was finally able to hear her 3-year old speak. The journey was documented on TLC’s new show “This is Life Live.”

“I think you can turn it up a little bit,” Nathalie Carrigan said as her implants were turned on.

Nathalie Carrigan’s cochlear implants are working better than she could have ever imagined.

“Things sound exactly how I remember them, songs sound exactly like I remember them,” she said.

Nathalie had progressive hearing loss diagnosed in childhood and got worse over the years. Her profound inner ear hearing loss made her a great candidate for cochlear implants. Doctors at the University of Minnesota Health performed her surgery.

“It’s just so different from hearing with a hearing aid,” she said. “That’s just kind of more muffled noise and the cochlear implant is so clear and so crisp.”

Nathalie’s first sounds were those of her 3-year-old, Maeve.

“It’s amazing, like noises,” she said. “Like, you guys all sound alien.”

Audiologist Dianna Hart says Nathalie is experiencing a new way of  hearing through electrical stimulation through the cochlear implants. This visit, six weeks after surgery, is to make sure Nathalie’s implants are working properly.

“We are looking at each individual electrode,” Hart said. “Each electrode is a different region of pitches so we are playing different pitches to Nathalie and make sure each pitch is set comfortably.”

Nathalie says she can now enjoy life with her family, without barriers.

“I can listen to the radio, I can listen to my kids talking in the car,” she said. “I think it’s just the daily stuff that I’m most excited about.”

Hart says Natalie is doing better than expected because she remembers how things use to sound, making it easier to adjust to the cochlear implants.

University of Minnesota Health has implanted over 1,600 patients. If you have profound hearing loss and want to see if you are a candidate for  cochlear implant surgery, you can contact the University of Minnesota Health Center’s Audiologists at 612-626-5775.

More from Reg Chapman
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