After a cancer diagnosis early in life, Leeolie began to face the challenges of hearing loss. After years of missing out on the joys of conversation and music that hearing aids alone were unable to offer, Leeolie has once again discovered the joy of hearing conversation and music thanks to her bimodal solution with the Cochlear™ Nucleus® 7 Sound Processor and her ReSound hearing aid.

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“My name is Leeolie. I am currently 30 years old and I have a Nucleus 7 Sound Processor. When I was 7 years old, I was diagnosed with cancer, having a slim chance of survival. I fought my way through at such a young age, but it came with a cost. I lost my hearing. I was diagnosed with severe to profound bilateral hearing loss and even at that age, I knew my life wouldn’t be the same. My left ear only has one percent of hearing and my dominant right ear has 20 to 25 percent hearing.

Missing out on music

A photo of Leeolie, who uses a bimodal solutionMusic was my passion and the comfort zone I loved to be in. Hearing aids only amplified the sound and most of the time, I couldn’t wear them because I had to wear a headset to listen to music. I hated my hearing aids. They weren’t making me feel confident and as I grew older, it made everything much worse.

It was difficult to understand people; it was either too loud or I just couldn’t catch a word they said. Music would be too groggy to my ears because I wore the hearing aids for the entire day and after taking them off, things were almost soft to silent due to the variation of the amplified sound the hearing aids gave. I wore hearing aids up until I was 18 years old when my best friend introduced me to cochlear implants. He told me how he was able to process things that he hears much more than if he only had hearing aids. I was desperate to improve my hearing.

I missed music so much, so I set an appointment at my local hospital with an audiologist and had my evaluation. I was approved for a bilateral implantation, but the audiologist wanted to focus mainly on the left ear and take advantage of the hearing I currently had in the right ear and somehow balance it out.

Regaining hearing and enjoying conversation again

When my sound processor was first activated, my world changed completely. I could hear things much better than I did with the hearing aids. My mother used to have to scream from the top of the stairs to me when I had the hearing aids in. Now that I have a cochlear implant, I can hear her completely and she does not have to repeat or yell her sentences. Having conversations with people became much easier too. I never had to feel left out again because I couldn’t understand what people were saying.

I’ve had a Nucleus 7 Sound Processor and cochlear implant for 12 years and having the implant still provides me with the best results in my daily life. I’ve upgraded from the Cochlear Nucleus Freedom® Sound Processor to the Nucleus 7 Sound Processor. The Nucleus 7 Sound Processor offers a more advanced version of the sound processor I previously had.

The Nucleus 7 Sound Processor is slimmer, less heavy on the ear and the magnet strength is lighter and not so tight to wear. I love the fact it is Bluetooth®1 compatible and that I can sync my iPhone®2 to my sound processor through the Nucleus Smart App34 and be able to adjust myself to the surroundings and even listen to music.

The benefits of being bimodal

A photo of Leeolie, who uses a bimodal solution in a maskThe moment I upgraded to the Nucleus 7 Sound Processor, it felt like I was hearing things on a whole new level compared to what I was hearing the past 12 years with the Freedom Sound Processor. To be able to have more control of the sound processor is fun and thrilling. I like to keep my cochlear implant on a mode where, in every setting I go to, it automatically picks it up and adjusts, so I’m comfortable in what I hear in that surrounding.

I can answer phone calls now with the help of my new ReSound hearing aid5 for the right ear, which makes talking on the phone much easier than having to pull out the hearing aid and struggling to understand  All I must do is have both the ReSound hearing aid and cochlear implant sound processor on and answer a phone call hands free and I can understand it all! These are features I wish I had in a hearing aid before the cochlear implant. Having the app is like holding a hand, it’s there to guide you when you need some help.

Maximizing the benefits of my cochlear implant

Daily, I wear my cochlear implant sound processor more than I used to wear my old hearing aids and that is a big improvement. Yes, I struggle a bit here and there but not as bad as years ago, and there’s a lot of improvement with every appointment.

To have a cochlear implant is a change, a big leap, to discovering the technology that’s been created specifically for us, and it’s not to make us feel normal, it’s to give us the opportunity to expand and explore our hearing and take it to another level. If anyone is looking to improve their hearing because their hearing aids alone are not enough, I suggest going for the evaluation for a cochlear implant. It can change your perspective on your hearing capabilities as it has for me. It’s one experience that has given me my life of confidence back.”

Are you interested in learning about Cochlear’s smart bimodal hearing solutions like Leeolie uses? Learn more here.

  1. The Bluetooth® word mark and logos are registered trademarks owned by Bluetooth SIG, Inc. and any use of such marks by Cochlear is under license.
  2. iPhone is a trademark of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.
  3. Nucleus Smart App is available on App Store and Google Play. For compatibility information, visit www.Cochlear.com/compatibility.
  4. For compatibility information, visit www.cochlear.com/compatibility.
  5. ReSound is a trademark of GN Hearing A/S
Cara Lippitt
Cara Lippitt is the Public Relations and Marketing 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.