Sean Fetters: Bone-Anchored Hearing Appliance & Ear Prosthesis

When you’re born missing an outer ear, you learn early to ignore the stares of curious strangers. But hearing at only 30 percent of normal from his right side was a problem that Sean Fetters of Spokane, WA, couldn’t ignore – not when it interfered with his ability to perform at maximum efficiency in his job as an intensive care unit nurse.

Through a Patient Care Grant partnership between the Foundation and the Spokane Central Lions Club, that problem is now history for Sean. He became the second BAHA (bone-anchored hearing appliance) recipient ever at the University of Washington Medical Center. In an expensive procedure, doctors implanted a titanium post in the mastoid bone above Sean’s ear. A processor snaps onto the post to catch the sound vibrations that are conducted through the bone and send them to the inner ear. A “click on” silicone prosthetic ear that Sean will receive soon will add the cosmetic finishing touch.

The ability to hear clearly when multiple situations are occurring all around him in intensive care will make Sean an even better nurse. Socializing at the church where he and his wife are active will be easier, as will keeping tabs on their young son.

“With background noise present, I really was deaf in my right ear,” said Sean. “I can’t thank the Lions enough for making my life better in so many ways.”