PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – New technology is promising to make deafness a thing of the past.

Cochlear implants can restore hearing in both ears, and there’s an even newer device that helps people with hearing loss in just one ear.

“I’m excited — I don’t know how this is going to be for me,” said Kayla Alshouse today, who lost hearing in her right ear when she was eight.

That was 13 years ago, and her mother, Karen Franklin, says efforts to repair the damage were fruitless.

“The third or fourth specialist I went to said, ‘Why are you here? There’s nothing we can do for you,’ ” Franklin recalls.

So, both mother and daughter were excited when doctors at Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia switched on a new “BAHA” (bone-anchored hearing aid) implant in Kayla’s ear this morning.

(Mother: ) “Can you hear me?” 

(Daughter:) “Yeah — omigosh.”

(Mother:)  “What does it sound like?”

(Daughter:)  “It sounds relatively normal!”

Dr. Thomas Wilcox of Jefferson Hospital says breakthroughs like the BAHA are part of a new era in which patients may no longer simply have to accept hearing loss.

“There’s many options that are out there available for people with hearing loss,” he told KYW Newsradio, “and it’s a matter of going to look into those options.”

For Kayla, it’s life changing.

“So awesome.  I’m so excited,” she said.

Reported by Pat Loeb, KYW Newsradio 1060

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