Cochlear Implant Saves Norman Dispatcher's Job

Friday, February 26th 2016, 10:31 pm
By: News 9

The city of Norman has stepped up to help a veteran 911 dispatcher regain his hearing. Through new technology he's able to continue answering citizens who call for help.

Doctors recently removed a tumor from this dispatcher's ear, but also inner ear bones that took away most of his hearing. But a new device is allowing him to hear better than ever.

“Hearing is everything in this job,” said David Grissam.

For 20 years, David Grissam has answered the calls for help.

Grissam's hearing began diminishing at the age of 6 as a result of chronic ear infections leaving behind scar tissue. He's lost 75 percent of his hearing in the left ear, and 40 percent in the other.

For years, he's been able to get by using a hearing aid, but recently it's not been enough.

“We tired different settings on the radios amplifications on the phones and things like that,” he said.

Grissam now uses the Cochlear Baha 5. The device, about the size of a quarter, was surgically implanted into his skull. It’s a hearing aid that delivers sound directly to his brain.

Through a Bluetooth connection, Grissam is once again able to clearly hear all the information coming into the room.

In a job where details can be the difference between life or death, the cochlear implant gives Grissam the ability to continue the job he loves.

“You need both ears in this room most certainly. You can have a phone in one ear and the radio in the other and still have people in the room requesting that they need from me,” said Grissam.

The device cost about $12,000. The city chipped in to the veteran dispatcher's bill paying $2,000.