UT student uses cochlear implant to overcome hearing loss
Amy Quartaro started college like any other University of Texas freshman.
"Right when I started at UT I was going about my thing, and I came back for Thanksgiving and my parents knew there was something wrong with my hearing," Quartaro said.
In 2014, Quartaro was diagnosed with bilateral hearing loss. What makes it harder is that she isn't just a student, she also works for NASA and her hearing loss was making that tough.
"Meetings in conference rooms, even with everyone sitting around a table I have trouble understanding," Quartaro said. "You get to the point where you sit and smile and shake your head and pretend you know what everyone is talking about."
That changed Friday as Quartaro got her new cochlear implant turned on for the first time.
Audiologist Amy Gensler is testing what Quartaro can hear with the new implant. It takes fine tuning as her brain adjusts to the implant.
"The brain is used to natural hearing," said Gensler. "So when you go from natural normal hearing to a hearing aid, to an implant, the brain has to interpret the sound around you much differently."
The whole family was there as Quartaro started listening to voices, her father chose to recite Macbeth.
"Today is a pretty special day," said Chris Quartaro. "It's neat to see her get back to normal hearing."
It will take time and practice for Quartaro to adjust to the implant, but she's looking forward to getting back to being just a normal aerospace engineering student at UT.
"It'd be really cool to be able to sit and watch TV without having to have the subtitles on," she said.