Watch It Live: Hearing Restored to a Deaf Woman

By Lindsay Abrams

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Instagram in the O.R.: Hearing Restoration Surgery Live-Tweeted

"The social media is the best": Live video of woman's hearing implant being switched on.

Remember last week when we followed Eleanor Day's live-tweeted hearing restoration surgery? When we left, the 79-year-old was "ready to party" immediately upon waking up from the anesthesia after her cochlear (inner ear) implant was put in.

Today she returns to the hospital, and they're going to activate the device.

The social media team at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle is doing a live-stream of the event. If all goes well, Mrs. Day will be able to hear without her hearing aids for the first time in five years. Her husband of 60 years will be there to lend his voice to the occasion.

"Stories are what people feel connected to and can learn the best from," explains Dana Lewis, the Digital Media and eHealth Strategist for Swedish. By inviting the world, and specifically other deaf patients and their families, to share Mrs. Day's experience, the medical staff hopes to demystify the hearing restoration process.

Update: "It sounds absolutely wonderful."

"Any hospital or health system who's thinking about doing something like this should put themselves in the shoes of their patients, or who they're trying to reach," says Lewis. For people with hearing loss, "we very quickly learned how hard it is to access healthcare information...you can't pick up your phone and call your doctor's office." The pictures and tweets sent out during the surgery served this community perfectly. And to supplement this morning's live stream for the hearing impaired, there will also be a live text chat with Mrs. Day and her husband, her surgeon, Douglas Backous, her audiologist, Stacey Watson, and Karen Utter, of the Hearing Loss Association, during the stream and then again at 1 p.m. and 9 p.m.:


This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/10/watch-it-live-hearing-restored-to-a-deaf-woman/263401/