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Foundation Helps Improve Life Quality of Harlem Man with Congenital Defects

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Dealing with congenital defects can be quite a burden, especially with limited resources. One foundation is helping a Harlem man tackle some crucial health issues. NY1's Erin Billups filed the following report.

It's a big year for Terrell Davis.

He graduated high school, and he finally has a device that helps him hear the world around him

Davis was born without hearing in his right ear, and microtia and atresia in the other.

He has a functioning nerve in the left ear, but had a underdeveloped ear with no ear canal.

With the help of the Little Baby Face Foundation he's had several surgeries, some aimed at making quality-of-life cosmetic changes.

"Doctor Romo—he fixed my nose, to make it straight so I can breathe better. And he fixed my chin, and he fixed my ear too," says patient Terrell Davis.

"This will definitively improve his quality of life. The way you look affects the way you feel, and with young people, it's just even more so," says Dr. Thomas Romo, President & Co-Founder of Little Baby Face Foundation.

Davis' latest procedure was the implantation of a hearing processor anchored to his bone—called the Baha 4 by Cochlear. It allows him to hear through the functioning nerve in his left ear.

"It actually vibrates the cochlea itself. The vibrations of sound hit the ear drum, the ear drum vibrates the three bones for hearing, which vibrate the cochlea and inside the cochlea, there's fluid. Those vibrations are converted into electricity," says Dr. Darius Kohan, Lenox Hill Hospital Otology & Neurotology Chief.

It's an upgrade from his previous hearing device, because it connects to his head via a magnet.

"In the only hearing ear before, he had to have a metal pin sticking out through the ear for him to hear and that was connected to a hearing aid-like device that always had infections and skin overgrew it," Kohan says.

Davis says the new implant is much more comfortable, and being able to hear again for him means the ability to communicate better, and a brighter future.

"I want to get out of high school, and I want to go to college to learn more," Davis says.

He hopes to become a doctor, like the team of providers who helped him—at no cost to his family.

"You think that you actually have to go outside the country to provide these services, but there are kids right here in our community who could use these services and that's where we're looking," Romo says.

For more information visit littlebabyface.org.

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