How a Cochlear Implant works
Nina wearing her Cochlear Implant Speech Processors
From Nina's pre-season interview with Gordon Holmes
Holmes: Youíre hearing impaired.
Poersch: Iím deaf. I have a Cochlear Implant, so I wear these little things on my ears and theyíre speech processors. They have little microphones. Your sound goes in the microphone, travels up this cord, the magnet attaches to my head that communicates with the computer chip thatís inside my head. And thereís an electrode that goes into your cochlea and thatís what shoots off all of theÖI donít know what theyíre calledÖ
Holmes: You were doing an awesome job up until there.
Poersch: (Laughs) Well, it shoots off all of that stuff so I can hear.
Holmes: Thatís amazing. I read your bio last night. I knew there was a deaf person in this cast. I picked you up at the holding tent. We talked the whole way over here. And just now Iím realizing youíre the player with the Cochlear Implant. How long have you been deaf?
Poersch: I didnít lose my hearing until seven years ago. Thatís why my speech is fine. I was only deaf for six months before I got the implant.
Holmes: And what made you lose your hearing?
Poersch: They really donít know. They call it unexplainable hearing loss. Nobody in my family has lost their hearing. I personally think it was from taking too many over-the-counter pain meds. There was a study that came out that said prolonged use of over-the-counter pain meds in your twenties, by the time youíre in your forties you have a 90-something-percent chance of losing your hearing. And that was me, I had rebound headaches, which no doctor ever told me thatĎs what it was. But I was taking over-the-counter pain meds at least five days a week and more than two a day. So, when I run across young people, I try to educate them. Because losing your hearing is not something you want to go through.
Holmes: Can you take the Cochlear Implant into the game?
Poersch: Yes. I talked to the doctor thatís going to be seeing us before the challenges. And weíve worked out a thing for me in case I have water challenges or anything like that. These are running off of disposable batteries, and then I have a little container that takes the moisture out of my processor at night. I take them off at night and stick them in there. Otherwise I wouldnít be able to play.
Holmes: There was a deaf contestant in ďAmazon.Ē
Poersch: I canít read lips. So, the only way I can understand people is to hear them.
Holmes: Are you going to let your tribemates know?
Poersch: Yes, I have to. Itís so hot Iím going to have to wear my hair in a ponytail. Theyíre going to see this. Before challenges, they just came up with this rubber sleeve, so it can be submerged completely in the water. So, I have to put that on. And really, itís just too hard to hide so I might as well tell them.
Holmes: Are there any issues when many people talk at the same time?
Poersch: Yes, itís difficult for me to hear.