By Elizabeth Darst
Updated December 21, 2001 12:53 PM

After telling his legions of fans in October that he was going deaf, Rush Limbaugh has apparently regained his sense of hearing after a successful surgical procedure on Wednesday, reports Reuters. “I feel great!” Limbaugh, 50, said in a statement on Thursday. “The surgery went smoothly and I’m looking forward to enjoying the holidays and returning to the air in early January.” Doctors at St. Vincent Medical Center in Los Angeles said that the “cochlear implant” should restore hearing to his left ear, which was damaged due to autoimmune inner ear disease. The conservative radio host suffered from the rare condition, in which the body’s own immune system attacks the inner ear, causing the aural nerves to deteriorate. To restore a sense of hearing, electrodes are implanted in the ear and a small microphone and language processing device are worn on the outside of the ear. Sounds are then transmitted to the brain through the electrodes. After a few weeks of recovery, Limbaugh will have the device attached. Doctors say that while the sound is “mechanical,” most patients can adapt. His bosses at Clear Channel Communications must be feeling pretty happy with the results, as well. The right-leaning talker inked a $285 million, eight-year deal with the company last July.