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Craig C. was one of the earliest users of the cochlear implant, receiving his first in 1985. Being a long-time advocate for cochlear implants and their advanced technology, Craig now enjoys helping others with their hearing loss journeys and loves to use his wireless accessories so he can hear the joys of the road on his motorcycle (see a great motorcycle Mini Mic 2+ hack he came up with below!). Check out Craig’s story of a life reconnected with sound:

Craig C.'s group of advanced technology

“I was born with normal hearing. At the age of 18 months, I contracted a fever of 104 degrees and was hospitalized for nearly a month as the doctors attempted to bring the fever down. Finally, they used a high dosage of sulfa meds and the fever left me; however, so did the majority of my hearing in both ears. At age 6, my ears were tested, and it was determined that I had a profound hearing loss in my left ear and a severe to profound loss in my right ear. At age 8, my right ear was fitted with a powerful hearing aid, which allowed me to hear environmental sounds, such as a car horn, doorbell, etc. At age 25, I discontinued using a hearing aid because it did not offer me any help and was contributing to severe tinnitus. Annual visits to my ear, nose and throat doctor (ENT) were disappointing as he kept telling me there was nothing more they could do for me.

In January 1985, my ENT informed me of an experimental cochlear implant program being conducted. He asked if I would like to participate and I said, ‘Yes, what do I have to lose?’ April came around and I was implanted with one of the first cochlear implants. I was activated mid-May and began my long and successful journey to hearing, thanks to modern technology.

Continued success with Cochlear’s technology

I am very happy with my device and have scored over 90 percent in all my hearing tests. In February 2004, my ENT thought it would be a good idea to implant my left side, so after the paperwork was completed I received a second implant. The two implants worked very well together, as one complimented the other by providing sound I was not hearing from the other. I was able to localize where sound was coming from and hear much better in crowded, noisy situations. Unfortunately, I had to have an emergency craniotomy, during which my auditory nerve was severed. Due to the severed auditory nerve, my left side cochlear implant can no longer work on that side. I miss my two ears, but am still doing very well.

Cochlear has never forgotten their earliest recipients and have kept us updated with their latest processors. I have used every processor compatible with my N22 implant, and each time a new one would come out, I would hear/understand BETTER!

My current Nucleus® 6 Sound Processor is fantastic! I love the remote control and the accessory I use the most is the Cochlear True Wireless Mini Microphone 2+. I couple the Mini Mic with my TV, which enables me to hear and UNDERSTAND nearly every spoken word on our local newscasts, whether I am actually looking at the TV or am in another room. I couple the Mini Mic with the FM systems at my church and various movie theaters and can hear/understand much better. I walk five miles each day listening to the radio by coupling my Mini Mic with my phone. I am a very happy camper!

More about me!

I was born in 1941, attended a Deaf school from age 3 (preschool) to age 13, graduating from the Deaf school in the ninth grade. I then transferred to public schools, taking the ninth grade again and graduating as a senior in 1959. I went on to a two-year college graduating in 1961. I then worked as an auto mechanic for a number of years until my fingers lost their sensitivity, and I was having difficulty diagnosing engine problems. I became an electrician’s helper and after I was implanted, I moved on to become a licensed electrician and later a master electrician. I was in charge of everything electrical at a large school district with over 28 buildings and the boss of a crew of four. I married in 1963 and have two children, three grandchildren and one great-grandchild. We are still married today, 55 years later.

Craig C. with cochlear implant advanced technology on his motorcycleAt the time of my first cochlear implant, the internet was virtually unheard of and there was no networking between the few implant users of that time. My hobby has become getting the word out about cochlear implants and helping others to gain insight into the implant and its potential. I have received a number of awards for my service to the deaf community; I served nine years on the board of the Deaf school I attended, serving as Vice Chair the last three years in office. I was an officer in the local club for the deaf, as well as, various other organizations.

Living the life in Florida

I am 76 now, retired and living the good life with my wife down in Florida. Great weather (NO MORE SNOW SHOVELING!) and no more need to store my Harley inside. I have adapted my Harley’s sound system, so I can plug the Mini Mic in and hear the radio, the weather reports and other riders via the walkie-talkies! I ride often, but not as often as I would like to (because my wife is unable to ride with me), but life is good. I still continue to help others when the need arises.”

Eager to get started on your hearing journey? Learn more about cochlear implant technology today.

Cara Lippitt
Cara Lippitt is the Public Relations Associate Manager at Cochlear Americas. She is responsible for consumer marketing social media and blog content. Cara is inspired by the stories of the recipients that she is able to tell and the incredible journeys they have taken. Cara was born and raised in Colorado and adores the mountains, snow and the world of musical theatre.