Cochlear implant surgery changing lives at Alabama Ear Specialists

CBS 42 Living Local

This Living Local segment is sponsored by Alabama Ear Specialists & Cochlear Americas

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (CBS 42 Living Local), Many people experience hearing loss for various reasons. Hearing aids can feel frustrating because they can feel like all volume is turned up, but the ability to understand speech doesn’t change. If you or a loved one is ready to start hearing speech clearly again, a Cochlear implant might be the solution.


Cassandra Munoz had Cochlear implant surgery in each ear. “They have been monumental in changing my life,” said Munoz.

Munoz is the patient of neurotologist Dr. Dennis Pappas.  “She struggled for years with the new hearing aids and new technology. Over time, she did not understand speech the way she should,” Pappas said.

Munoz had one goal in mind when she scheduled her Cochlear implant surgery.  “My goal was to be able to hear my daughter‘s wedding vows,” she said. “I probably cried twice as hard as your typical mom because of that. And she even turned around to look as if to ask, ‘did you hear?’ And I am like ‘I heard every word.'”

“Her result was fantastic. Almost from the very beginning, she was understanding, she understood better than she was with the hearing aids, and it just lit her up,” Pappas said.

Pappas, Dr. Benjamin McGrew, and Dr. Grayson Rodgers are top boarded neurotologists in Alabama. In 2019, they joined forces and became the Alabama Ear Specialists, bringing patients a combined eighty years of experience. All three doctors agree that few things are more rewarding than watching a patient thrive after Cochlear implant surgery.

“The implant stimulates the ear, and it substitutes, or makes up for, what’s been lost for a person who has hearing loss, which are the tiny little nerve cells that hear. We call them hair cells,” said Pappas.

“That code is then carried up to your auditory nerve to your brain, in the centers of your brain, that digest sound, and we can hear. And that is somewhat of a miracle,” Rodgers added. “We have people that are so moved by their ability to hear again that they are in tears.”

 The doctors tell us that many people are candidates for Cochlear implants; they need to come in for an evaluation.

 “The projection is that we have just barely touched the market of what is out there and needs this kind of treatment,” McGrew said. “Many people just suffer from their hearing loss, and they become quiet, and they will just sit back and agree to everything.”

 Once patients can hear again, their family members are sometimes the most excited. 

“Sometimes it’s so life-changing that they will say, ‘yeah, Dad is a new person. He was sitting there, and now he is involved in the whole family.'” said McGrew.

To see if you’re a candidate for Cochlear implant surgery, connect with the Alabama Ear Specialists by visiting alabamaear.com or call (205) 598-4799.

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