Howard Samuels, Newton MA
As a late-deafened engineer, my technical background may be useful in explaining some of the aspects of cochlear implants. I’d like to help with everything from selecting an implant, getting the most out of your programming sessions with the audiologist, to providing options for different ways to use a telephone. None of this information was readily available to me during my own journey. I received my first implant in 2005, and went bilateral in 2007.
Tom Hannon, San Francisco Bay Area
With 58 years of unaided hearing and no hearing loss history during the summer of 2006 I started to very rapidly lose my hearing, within a few weeks 70% in my right ear was gone and my left was all but gone, and then one morning my life changed forever — I woke up profoundly deaf.
About eight months later I saw an ENT, not specifically for a cochlear implant, but that was how it turned out. And it was then on that day in 2007 that I had renewed hope! When I left the ENT’s office with an armload of cochlear implant manufacturer materials I only had a vague understanding of cochlear implants, the more I read the more overwhelming it became, and the more I delved into cochlear implants the more I wished for a central reference point to help me better understand it all. So with this website I hope that those who were like me will benefit from CochlearImplantHELP.
Tina Lannin, London UK
I was born profoundly deaf and have worn the most powerful hearing aids available to me since the age of 3. In my thirties I noticed my hearing dropped and I found it harder to cope. I had daily headaches and was permanently stressed and exhausted from trying to cope with such impaired communication skills. After being told by the NHS that the hearing aids they offered were the best available, and finding that private hearing aids didn’t offer much help either, I looked towards a cochlear implant in the desperate hope that there was something better out there. I really wasn’t keen on the idea of having something surgically implanted in my head, but I had reached my tipping point and feared for my health and sanity.
When I started researching cochlear implants, I was amazed by how little information was available – some people said that all cochlear implants are the same, there were no good brand comparisons available, and the marketing literature from cochlear implant companies didn’t give enough detail. I didn’t know what to look for, what the important factors were, and where to find support. I did my research then I had my worst ear implanted in 2010 and went bilateral in 2011. You can read about my cochlear implant journey on FunnyOldLife. I love my cochlear implants now. It’s been a struggle but it’s definitely worth it – I can now have a conversation with my eyes closed, with people I know well.
Evelyn Gardner, San Jose CA
Experiencing severe to profound hearing loss while wearing two hearing aids was very difficult for me. I grew up hearing normally and lost my hearing as an adult to Ménière’s in both ears. My once very active lifestyle changed drastically. When told I was a candidate for cochlear implants I didn’t know anyone with a CI or how to gather information in making such an important decision.
My desire to contribute to this website is because getting factual and first hand experience for CI candidates and CI users is essential. When I was a candidate I wanted a website like this one but there weren’t any. Today my desire is to help others on this same journey. My life has changed being able to hear and I hope that for others as well.
Deb McClendon, Austin TX
I have been a CI user since 1985. An early experimental device called a Storz-4 channel gave me an introduction to sound after 14 years of silence. Only 16 were ever implanted in the world. The Storz device failed early on, and there was no replacement CI available at that time. That early device gave me good environmental sounds. I could hear speech, but not recognize it. I wore it for about six months before having to give up on it. My audiologist had to fly in from San Francisco to map me in Connecticut! The computer screen was in DOS mode, totally different than today’s world. It was a taste of the future, crumbs that helped me be patient for better things down the road!
These days I am happily listening to the world with bilateral implants. After virtually 31 years in silence, I was able to talk on the phone again 2 weeks after activation! I heard my daughter’s voice that day for the first time ever! We were both totally shell shocked!
I love to travel and listen to music. I never dreamed that I would hear my little grandson as he moves past being a toddler and into pre-school mode. He plays a mean drum! I never take this technology for granted, and am still pinching myself at the 10 year mark with my CI!
David Ryan, Long Beach CA
Hearing has always been important to me due to my love of music. Prior to my hearing beginning its descent at 7 years old, I’d spend hours on the floor in front of my record player listening to anything I could get my hands on, giving myself an early, strong hearing-memory base. I continued to push myself to listen to music through hearing aids even as it got increasingly difficult over the years and even learned to play the guitar along with training in music theory. It was the last significant sudden drop in hearing in 2005 that left me unable to enjoy music to any degree that pushed me into the unknown world of cochlear implants. I was ultimately implanted in 2007 after months of research, getting past the marketing, into what would give me the best chance at regaining music and overall sound quality. The results continue to astound me 6 years later and counting. My music library is out of control and I travel the world attending concerts. I hope to help others understand their options and reach their own destination.
Sam Spritzer, Buffalo NY
I am a 50-something Amherst / Buffalo, NY male who enjoys triathlons. I became bionic in 2007 and 2008. I won’t bore you with the finer details of my journey because you can find it on my website, Welcome to Sam Spritzer’s Web Site. I hope you truly enjoy your experience here and find it helpful as you maneuver the enormous maze to better hearing. As they say at the moment of activation …. “WOW!”