MARION, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- A ticking clock is a sound some may not pay attention to, but Carissa Lala doesn't take it for granted.
It was a sound she could not hear until getting her Hybrid Cochlear Implant four years ago. It’s an electronic device surgically put in a person’s ear to help with their hearing. Lala uses a hybrid because her hearing isn’t completely gone.
She says, "When you hear the sound, you kinda walk around trying to figure out what it is that you're hearing."
Her hearing loss is hereditary. It’s even starting to affect her kids. She's the third generation to get an implant but the first to get a hybrid, because she can still hear certain sounds without it.
She says, “I can now hear the higher tones that I couldn't hear before, which is where your speech is. Like the towels. Like I can hear the "tuh" sounds "puh" sounds."
Researchers want to be able to make those implants work better. Dr. Bruce Gantz says the current devices can only do so much. That’s what part of their $12 million grant will go towards. "All hearing aids do is amplify sound, and they don't clarify it. And it's very difficult for them to hear noise. If there's a restaurant noise or people competing talking, people with significant hearing loss lose that ability."
Lala plans to take part in the study she hopes it brings researchers, and her family some clarity. She says, “Since I've had my processor I've gone down every year and I've do done testing with the university to help with research”