13-year-old girl receives new hearing implant technology, first in Idaho

Posted at 5:49 PM, Jun 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-06 16:12:43-04

BOISE — Thirteen-year-old Gretta Fors reaction after receiving a new hearing implant technology is priceless.

"That's good, though, but it's weird!" said Fors.

The FDA approved the Bonebridge implant system, and Gretta is the first kid in Idaho to receive it.

"For a while, Gretta's been using different technology, but most recently the ear bone surgery she had failed, and so she developed a more significant hearing loss," said St. Luke's pediatric audiologist Jessica Stich-Hennen.

Gretta has conductive and mixed hearing loss, meaning cochlear implants won't work for her.

"Her cochlea works, what doesn't work are the ear bone and the eardrums to get the sound to her cochlea," said Gretta's mother, Gretchen Fors.

She's been experiencing hearing loss since she was six months old, but it hasn't stopped her from her love of music.

"Drumming, which is my band instrument, percussion--it was easier for me to hear it even when I couldn't hear anything else, cause I could take off my shoes and feel the pulse on the floor," said Gretta.

She's also looking forward to more simple day-to-day actions that others might take for granted, like wearing her hair down, or swimming in a pool, which her old technology didn't let her do.

"At one point when my eardrum still had a hole in it, I had to wear ear plugs so water couldn't get in and give me a deeper infection. So I couldn't hear my swim coaches at all, which was rough," said Gretta.

Now, she'll be able to hear the instruments she loves and the praise of her family more clearly.

"Gretta loves music and we come from a musical family on both sides, and I think her being able to flourish in music and song, truly, I'm really excited about," said Gretta's father, Eric Fors.