Only in her early 50s, Chery thought her life with hearing loss caused by Meniere’s disease had no light at the end of the tunnel. It was a combination of her determination, caring audiologists and a cochlear implant1 that changed her life. Now, she is ready to pay it forward by helping others navigate their journey to hearing.

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“I lost my hearing as a result of Meniere’s disease. I began having vertigo attacks when I was 37, and each attack slowly deteriorated my hearing. I was told at that time that my hearing loss was permanent and there was nothing, not even hearing aids, that could help me. I was left to simply deal with it.

Chery who has hearing loss caused by menieres diseaseNot only was I losing my hearing, but because of it, I also was no longer able to drive. My world slowly closed in on me, and I truly believed that this was my fate; I was stuck with this disability for the rest of my life.

In June 2019, I had the worst vertigo attack of my life. It lasted over 16 terrifying hours and was completely debilitating. As awful as it was, I became absolutely determined to find an answer to this horrible disease. I spent weeks researching everything I could find online about Meniere’s, and I even went to my local ear, nose and throat doctor (ENT) who once again told me there was nothing that would help. My audiologist at the time encouraged me to look into a cochlear implant, and wow am I ever thankful to her because that was the moment my real hearing journey began.

Focusing on solutions

Chery, who has hearing loss caused by menieres disease, on her wedding dayThrough my research, I finally came across a physician in Sarasota, Florida, who specializes in Meniere’s disease. I bought a plane ticket and flew from my home in Denver, Colorado to Florida for an appointment with him. He recommended a labyrinthectomy (a surgical solution to remedy vertigo). I was beyond excited about being vertigo free, so I went ahead and scheduled the labyrinthectomy surgery.

I was still not willing to give up on the possibility of regaining my hearing with a cochlear implant. Then, to my disbelief and with the incredible help of Cochlear’s insurance specialist in Florida and a compelling letter from my physician, my insurance company approved me for a cochlear implant. I was elated! On November 19, 2019, I was able to have both the labyrinthectomy and the cochlear implant surgeries done simultaneously, and it was truly the beginning of a new life for me.

I spent the weeks after surgery doing vestibular therapy to regain my balance and learn my new normal. Just two months after surgery, I was able to begin driving again. Talk about a life-changer! My cochlear implant activation was done in Colorado on December 11, 2019 and my results have been fantastic! After 15 years of deafness, I have my hearing back! It’s beyond incredible! My last mapping was done remotely, in late April 2020. At the end of the mapping, my audiologist did a hearing test streaming directly to my cochlear implant, and I even surprised myself when I got 100 percent for word recognition. I am truly and deeply humbled to have these results in this short period of time!

Why Cochlear was right for me

Chery, who has hearing loss caused by menieres disease, with her cochlear implantWhen I reflect on my hearing journey, I often think about why I chose Cochlear over its competitors. To me, it was a no-brainer to choose Cochlear. I wanted the best in the world for me, and they were it.

One thing I love about what Cochlear offers is its wireless connectivity. I spent a lot of time looking through the hearing solutions that Cochlear provides, and I thought the Cochlear Nucleus® 7 Sound Processor would be a good fit for me because of its amazing streaming capabilities.

I use the Nucleus Smart App1 every day. I love streaming to my Nucleus 7 Sound Processor from my iPhone®23. Thanks to the awesome streaming capabilities, I’ve listened to more audiobooks, watched more TV and like to spend a couple of hours on the treadmill five days a week. The True Wireless™ TV Streamer is great for this because the sound streams directly to my sound processor, so I don’t struggle to hear. It is truly impossible to put into words how amazing it is to be able to listen to stereo music again. It might not sound ‘normal’ yet, but it’s getting better as I listen more and more. I truly do feel like I’ve been given music back. What a JOY! The music is a bonus because my improved directional hearing and phone conversations are nothing short of a dream come true.

Looking forward

Chery, who has hearing loss caused by menieres disease, with her husbandMy future aspirations? I’ve already accomplished one — driving! That may seem small to some, but after eight years of having no independence for lack of being able to drive, it’s HUGE for me! My next goal is to become a Cochlear mentor, so I can support other people through the same journey that I’ve lived through. I know what an immense impact this experience can make, and I have a true passion for helping others find this same success. I can’t think of any better way to do that than to go to work for the very company who made hearing again possible for me.

In conclusion, I’d just like to say: Life is short. Live it to the fullest. Don’t let fear stop you from moving forward. As my cochlear implant mentor would say… Carpe diem! My only regret is not having this done earlier!”

If Chery’s story inspired you to see if cochlear implants can open up more opportunities in your life, click here to learn more.

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  1. For smartphone and app compatibility information, visit www.cochlear.com/compatibility
  2. For smartphone and app compatibility information, visit www.cochlear.com/compatibility
  3. iPhone is a trademark of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.
  4. 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.
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.