When Lori’s hearing aids alone were no longer enough, she knew it was time to consider other options. As a child, she was told she wasn’t a candidate for cochlear implants, however her audiologist explained how things have changed since then and Lori is glad she never looked back. Read Lori’s testimony and hear about her journey from wearing hearing aids to using cochlear implants and how she found out how important hearing therapy is.

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“I would like to give you a little background on myself so that I may share my journey of my testimony and miracle of deafness. I was born in 1975. I was born deaf in my right ear with 100% hearing in my left ear. They didn’t find out anything until I was around three years old. When I called my Grandma on the phone, I would have to switch the receiver to my hearing ear. So, my Mom got me tested and sure enough I was deaf. In school I was in speech therapy and learning disability classes. When I was in fifth grade, we found out that I was losing my hearing in my left ear and needed hearing aids. School wasn’t the best time in my life. I hated it. But by the grace of God, I got through it. I graduated and life went on.Lori looking to the side showing her hearing aids before she was implanted.

When I was about 20, I met the love of my life, my husband, Todd. About a year later in 1996, I got a job at the town grocery store. I started to notice that my hearing was going in 2014 or maybe even before that. My hearing was getting worse and in October of 2015 I quit my job. I worked a variety of jobs, however, I found I couldn’t hear half the time and I had to quit them too.

During that time, my hearing aids alone were no longer helping me. We went through the state to get help for people with disabilities. I was informed by the state that they approved my case for new hearing aids. They knew that I had a job and I needed hearing aids to work. They sent me to a new audiologist in Kettering. This is where my journey begins. I knew God had something in store for me.Lori smiling because she has better hearing with her cochlear implants

When my hearing aids alone were no longer enough

During one appointment my audiologist looked at my Mom and me and asked if I would want to get a cochlear implant. I looked at my Mom and then I looked back at him and I told him that they had told my Mom when I was a baby that I wasn’t a candidate for surgery. He told me, things had changed and now so many people with profound hearing loss were able to have the cochlear implant procedure1, even as young as 9 months old2. So my audiologist is a big part of this testimony. If he never told me about cochlear implants I would have never known. I went home that day and started researching about them and signed up for more info. We got invited to a chapter meeting for cochlear implants and my Mom, Todd, and I went. The first meeting explained everything. When we walked out of there I said, ‘Yes, this is what I want and need!’Lori wearing a hat in a store, feeling confident with her better hearing with cochlear implants

Since my audiologist didn’t work with cochlear implants and he didn’t do the surgeries for them, I was referred to a surgeon in Dayton. This is where the fun starts. I went through the candidate tests and I was approved for a cochlear implant. The surgeon wanted to do my left ear first, then depending on how it went, if I wanted to do the right ear, we could.

My surgery day 

July 5th 2018 was a big day. I had my first cochlear implant surgery. I will never forget this day. I was so looking forward to it and that day I wasn’t scared at all. God’s awesome peace was over me. Sure, maybe I was a little nervous, but I was more excited than anything. The surgery went great. I was sent home all bandaged up and I rested. The only side effect I had was loss of taste, but that only lasted for a couple of weeks or so. After I healed, I got activated for my Cochlear™ Nucleus® 7 Sound Processor (the external sound processor) on August 2nd.Lori wearing a sound processor shirt smiling about her testimony to better hearing with cochlear implants

Practice, practice, practice

Activation time was weird. The audiologist did what she had to do to see how or if it was working. All I could hear was R2D2 sounds and no voices. But apparently that was normal, and she said that meant it was working!! I was so happy and thought this was great! I asked how long it was going to be like this. She told me I had to practice and that meant I needed to train my brain on how to hear again. Okay, I knew I could do this. I went home and started training. Boy, was that a long process. I thought this was never going to work. I wondered how I was supposed to hear words being like this. But on the other hand, on the first day of activation I heard my Mom’s laugh. In the restaurant I heard silverware hitting the plate and water running in the bathroom. So yes, I was hearing sounds, but words? No way. At least that’s what I thought.

 I didn’t like reading but to help practice, everyone recommended trying audio books. So, I finally found an app on my phone to read the Bible out loud to me, while I read along. Boy…did that help. I took one test around three months after activation and I was at a 30 percent word score. Around four or five months later I was at 70 percent word recognition. That was a big jump and a good jump. I was hearing so well. Voices were becoming so easy to hear. Of course, it was still hard because there was no hearing in my right ear and background noises were and still are difficult.

Becoming bilateral

Because the left ear worked so well, I wanted to hear out of my right ear, too. Early 2019, the surgeon agreed it was time to do the other ear. He said if it didn’t work, I had nothing to lose.  November 21st was surgery day, a week before thanksgiving. “Please give me my taste buds. I want to taste Thanksgiving food!!” All went well. The surgery went great. And no, I didn’t lose my taste buds this time!  I have thought about this a lot lately and with COVID going around, I’m so glad the Lord got my surgery in and done before the pandemic hit. I was activated on December 31st.  Yes, it was New Year’s Eve. What a way to start the year, huh??

Don’t give up 

Today I’m doing well. I did finally get in a mapping and I’m doing great. I love wearing both of my cochlear implants at the same time. If I wear my first one, it just sounds weird, and I’m still training with my new one. Yes, I’m still listening to my audio book Bible for hearing therapy. I also hear voices and all sounds. I am still in awe every time I hear a new sound. I can’t believe I am hearing out of two ears now. This is my miracle that I had prayed for so long. Yes, it’s technology. I understand that, but to me, it’s a miracle, God’s answer to my prayer!Lori sitting on her couch, smiling with her better hearing with cochlear implants

My point of this whole story you may ask?? Don’t give up!!! Keep praying and praying. God has an answer, even when you feel like you are talking to the wall. Don’t give up. It may not be the ‘healing’ you expected, or you may not like the storms you have to go though. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. It is in my heart to share this.Lori and Todd in a park, happy about better hearing with cochlear implants

I do want to give my thanks to God, my awesome Savior, for this testimony. I also want to thank my Mom and my husband, Todd for supporting me through this time and taking care of me. Thank you to my audiologist and surgeon, for all you did for me to help me though this. My friends, Church and online social media for all the prayers! I’m sure there are so many others I am forgetting. Thanks for reading.”

If Lori’s story inspired you to enhance your listening skills by practicing, click here for more information about hearing therapy.

  1. Cochlear Nucleus cochlear implants are intended for use in individuals 18 years of age or older who have bilateral, pre, peri or postlinguistic sensorineural hearing impairment and obtain limited benefit from appropriate binaural hearing aids.
  2. The cochlear implant system is intended for use in children 9 to 24 months of age who have bilateral profound sensorineural deafness and demonstrate limited benefit from appropriate binaural hearing aids.
    Children two years of age or older may demonstrate severe to profound hearing loss bilaterally.
    In younger children, limited benefit is defined as lack of progress in the development of simple auditory skills in conjunction with appropriate amplification and participation in intensive aural habilitation over a three to six month period. It is recommended that limited benefit be quantified on a measure such as the Meaningful Auditory Integration Scale or the Early Speech Perception test.
    In older children, limited benefit is defined as ≤ 30% correct on the open set Multisyllabic Lexical
Anna Martinez
Anna Martinez is the Services and Marketing Specialist and has worked for Cochlear since 2016. She is responsible for facilitating recipient services content development and approval. Anna is a Colorado native and enjoys being outside in the beautiful weather with her husband and daughter.