FLORENCE, S.C. (WBTW) – People who couldn’t hear now have the opportunity, through cochlear implants.

Many in the Pee Dee used to have to travel to either Charleston or Columbia to have cochlear implants fully activated. One year ago, three Pee Dee area residents had their new cochlear implant devices activated in Florence. It was a first for the area.

On Monday, they had their follow-up appointments.

“When you get to the point that you don’t hear, what do you got to lose by trying it,” said Tanya Tucker, cochlear implant patient.

A cochlear implant is a small, complex electronic device that can help to provide a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or severely hard of hearing.

For the last 20 years, Tucker has been losing her hearing, inherited through time. Until last year, when she decided to enlist some help.

“You get things back that you missed. I get to hear my little grand boys talk,” smiles Tucker.

“It’s like taking them to a foreign country where there’s a foreign language and dropping them off in the middle of the country and leaving them,” explained Dr. Lesley Kirby with Lifetime Hearing Services in Florence of patients who are hearing clearly for the first time in a long time.

Tucker is one of more than 200,000 people worldwide to receive cochlear implants. Dr. Kirby says, within the past year, her office has fully implanted cochlear devices on more than 20 patients.