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Receiving a Life Changing Perspective


USD staff member and student, Nancy Andresen, had let go of any hope of finding a corrective solution to her hearing loss.  However, thanks to her Baha cochlear implant, Nancy is able to hear better than she has ever heard in her adult life.

She set out to complete her bachelor's degree in contemporary media and journalism and began working in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at USD.  It was there she met Jessica Messersmith, Ph.D. – and in turn learned of an opportunity to receive a Baha cochlear implant.

"On December 1, 2011 I went in for the surgery," said Andresen.  "Essentially, they implanted a titanium screw into my cranial bones.  A computer box bounces the sound onto the titanium post.  The sound then carries through the skull to the inner ear bipassing the bones in the middle ear straight to the cochlea (inner ear)."

"The Baha cochlear implant has been life changing," she said.  "I can understand conversations without depending on lip reading.  I don't have to sit in a crowd, party or function and be quiet because I can't hear.  I can participate in classes and don't have to sit in the front of the room.  I can participate in life."

Nancy's life has changed in more ways than one.  In August of 2012, she was awarded the Career Service scholarship and signed up for the American Sign Language (ASL) course in order to complete her bachelor's degree.

"Without the Baha cochlear implant, I may be permanently deaf by the time I am retired," said Andresen. "I knew that the class would be fantastic because it works hand in hand with my hearing loss."

"Dr. Bellis (ASL course professor) was excellent," she continues.  "She taught the class like it was her personal job to make sure that everybody knew the material and understood."

One of Andresen's final projects involved collaborating with a small group to sign a song of their choice, which involves not only signing with one's hands, but using facial expressions to express the song's emotional content. View the video below.

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