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Kim W. had always supposed that hearing loss was going to be a part of his life, after lacking proper hearing protection during his early adulthood. Once his hearing loss could no longer be helped by hearing aid support, Kim became isolated from his family and could not hold meaningful conversations with his grandchildren. He turned to the Cochlear™ Nucleus® Hybrid™ Implant System* with the hope that he could regain connections and relationships. Read below to hear how Kim’s journey with his Hybrid implant went:

Kim, adult with Hybrid implant“In my early 50s I noticed I was not hearing as well as I once did. I found myself often asking others to repeat themselves, having to turn up the volume of the TV to hear the dialog and struggling to understand conversations in noisy environments. I always thought that eventually I would need hearing aids, seeing as I had listened to plenty of rock and roll music in the 70s (with the volume turned up much too loud) and had never used hearing protection when using power tools. My father also had hearing problems and wore hearing aids later in life, so I figured I might be next.

In my mid-50s, my hearing difficulties became so problematic that I bought my fist pair of hearing aids. For the next five to eight years they certainly helped me hear better. I purchased new hearing aids every three to five years, and saw my audiologist regularly.

About three years ago, my hearing loss had continued to decline to the extent that my hearing aids were just not helping me much. I had to use closed captioning for TV, avoided telephone and conference calls at work and declined invitations to join co-workers for lunch at restaurants. I had to ask my wife incessantly what others had just said, and I was not able to have easy and meaningful conversations with my daughters and grandchildren. I was very frustrated and discouraged about what my future held if my hearing could not be improved.

About a year ago, my audiologist advised me that with my type of high-frequency hearing loss, she would not be able to assist me further using the current hearing aid technology. My audiologist recommended I see a neurotologist, to seek out advice and alternatives. That recommendation was one of the best ever, as it led me to the decision to get a cochlear implant.

Moving forward with Cochlear’s Hybrid Implant System

The doctor I saw agreed with my audiologist’s assessment of my hearing, and told me about the relatively new Cochlear Hybrid Implant System. Since my low frequency hearing is relatively good, Cochlear’s Hybrid Implant System seemed to offer the best of both worlds: improved high-frequency hearing with natural acoustic** hearing for lower frequency sounds. After researching cochlear implants in general, and reading about Cochlear’s Hybrid technology in particular, I decided to go forward with the implant procedure in my left ear.

I did have concerns during the weeks leading up to the surgery. The risks and downsides to the implant surgery (like all surgeries actually) made me wonder whether I was making a good choice. Not really knowing what hearing would ‘sound like’ with an implant seemed like a leap of faith. I read testimonials by others on the Cochlear website about their experiences, and I was encouraged by a conversation I had with an audiologist who was very knowledgeable with the Hybrid technology. In the end, my dissatisfaction with my hearing, the expectation it would likely only get worse and my desire to enjoy life to its fullest convinced me to go forward with the implant procedure.

#Fear of losing connection with family spurs @CochlearUS recipient to go with #Hybridimplant solutionClick To Tweet
Hybrid hearing homework*

The surgical procedure was no big deal, and I had great outcomes. A couple of days of discomfort on the left side of my head, and I was back to my normal activities. I experienced no appreciable hearing loss in the low-frequency range in my left ear, so that was excellent post-surgical news.

The steps to rehabilitate my hearing after the surgery was a process. I needed to take time to adapt to hearing with my Hybrid implant. It took patience and rehab work, including doing homework exercises to ‘re-learn to hear’ with my implant. Sounds once familiar were not that familiar anymore…but over the course of about two months, my brain learned and adapted quite well!

Kim, adult with Hybrid implant, and his family

The difference my implant has made to my hearing ability has been impressive and very rewarding. Now I can hear all of the sounds that I had forgotten, including hearing clocks tick, birds chirp and even turn signal clicks. Now, I am confident when making or taking phone calls, have enjoyed mealtime conversations in restaurants and can have easy conversations in the car with my wife, children and grandchildren. I am now enjoying listening to music again too!

Using the latest technology

With my Cochlear Hybrid Implant System, I have the Nucleus 7® Sound Processor and a ReSound® hearing aid for my right ear. I have an iPhone® 6, so I have been able to take advantage of Cochlear and Apple®’s technology that brings so many cool features together, right in the palm of my hand. Being able to stream phone calls, music, and other audio sources directly into my ears through my sound processor and hearing aid has made a world of difference. The speed of the connection from my phone to my implant is impressive. Switching between audio sources is seamless and quick, and volume control is a snap.

Using the Cochlear True Wireless™ TV Streamer has almost eliminated my need for closed captioning. Recently I actually asked my wife if we could turn down the volume of the TV, and she does not have hearing loss! The True Wireless Mini Microphone 2 works very well, though I often find I do not really even need it.

I am recently retired and I know that I can look forward to getting more out of relationships with my family and friends and have confidence that I can fully participate and truly enjoy all upcoming life experiences because of my improved hearing. Thanks Cochlear!”

Are you struggling with high-frequency hearing loss like Kim? Find out of the Hybrid Implant System could help you too: www.Cochlear.com/US/Hybrid

*The Hybrid L24 Implant is approved in the US only for adults 18 and older.
**The Acoustic Component should only be used when behavioral audiometric thresholds can be obtained and the recipient can provide feedback regarding sound quality.
The Nucleus 7 Sound Processor is compatible with iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6, iPhone SE, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5, iPad Pro (12.9-inch), iPad Pro (9.7-inch), iPad Air 2, iPad Air, iPad mini 4, iPad mini 3, iPad mini 2, iPad mini, iPad (4th generation) and iPod touch (6th generation) using iOS 10.0 or later.
Apple and iPhone are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

ReSound is a trademark of GN Hearing A/S.

 

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.