Misty tells the story of her mom’s hearing loss, struggles with hearing aids and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. After advocating for her mom, she was able to find a new solution for her mom to hear with cochlear implants. With COVID restrictions in place, Misty was grateful for the True Wireless™ Mini Microphone 2+, which allowed her to communicate with her mom prior to her mom’s passing.

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“Silence. A word as a child Momma did not have to live with. The sound of the birds chirping, dogs barking, even friends or family laughing would be soon forgotten as a young adult. The tone of her own mother’s voice, the calming matriarch in the family, faded away as if sailing from shore. We don’t really know what happened to Momma’s hearing, just that it was gone. At the age of 29, Momma was considered profoundly deaf and started her battle for sound. She lost her husband to a heart attack and continued to work her tail off so we as her children wouldn’t go without.

For years, Momma went to doctors for help. She received hearing aids that did not fit well, that were painful to wear, but the desire for sound outweighed the constant pain she was in. I remember her begging for help, for something else but every time she was given the same answer, ‘There is nothing more we can do to help you.’ No, after no, after no… her hope faded just as quick as her hearing.

A new world with a new diagnosis

Misty's mom with her sound processor, she reflects on using the Mini Microphone 2+ to communicate with her momAs life continued on for Momma, she had other obstacles arise as an aging parent typically does. In her late 50s, her vision started to fade. We were given a grim future for it and again, nothing would be able to heal her. In her early 60s, Momma started acting different. After years of doctor appointments, dozens of tests and blood draws, she was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. So, here sat Momma, profoundly deaf, going blind and would soon be losing her mind. Can you imagine the world she would be living in? She needed an advocate so I started to fight for her from that point on and moved her to my town so I could care for her. We made what felt like a million doctor’s appointments for her and the first one was a new ear, nose and throat doctor (ENT) in my town.

We showed up to the appointment with a binder full of information from all of her previous ENT doctor appointments. We walked into a new office to visit her new doctor. After a quick exam, he stated, ‘She’s the perfect candidate for a cochlear implant. I’m going to refer you to a specialist.’ I reminded him of her health conditions, and he said it didn’t matter. **HOPE** started to build, but I had been down this road with her many times.

A turning point with cochlear implants

We went to the cochlear implant specialist and his exam was a little more thorough, there were lots of tests ran, but he said it. He said words I never thought I would hear in my lifetime. He said, ‘Your mom is going to hear again.’ I cried. Gosh, did I cry. I wrote it on a piece of paper and showed Momma. She cried a river of tears. It was a magical moment that I will never forget.

Momma had the surgery in late 2019. We had to wait a few weeks for healing before we got it turned on. We went to the audiologist’s office and the beeping and buzzing sent her head spinning. She was looking all over the room and said, ‘It’s loud.’ Woah. She heard! They had me test her hearing with the sound processor on, so I held a blocking device in front of my mouth and started naming colors to have her repeat them. The colors blue, black, pink, red, yellow have never sounded so beautiful as they did that day.

The Mini Microphone 2+

Misty with the Mini Microphone 2+It had been an adjustment getting used to what sound was like in a brain that is constantly fighting against it for my mom. As mom’s mental capabilities dwindled, she had to move into a place that could care for her better than I could. A whole new set of challenges came into play as 2020 dealt us a blow. COVID made it where I couldn’t go in to see her to help her practice her sounds. That’s where the Mini Microphone 2+ came in to play and was life changing.

Momma resided on the first floor of her facility so I could sit outside her patio door and speak with her through the glass. She could hear me! The Mini Microphone 2+ allowed my voice to be streamed directly into her sound processor so she knew I was there and could come to the window. Instead of her struggling to hear me through the glass, she heard me as if I was standing right next to her. I could hear her softly through the double-paned glass, and I could see the sparkle in her eyes as she could understand what I was saying to her. She could hear me say that I love her dearly. She could hear her grandchildren say ‘Hi’ and that they love her. She. Could. Hear.

A life-altering device

This is something I never thought I would witness especially with Momma’s mental capability dwindling but she was given a chance. The cochlear implant specialist gave her a chance when no other doctors would. He believed this device would be life-altering for her, and it was in a way I don’t think I could ever adequately put into words.

Her brain may have been forgetting, her vision may have been fading, but she could hear and had a sense of who she was again.

Her brain may have been forgetting, her vision may have been fading, but she could hear and had a sense of who she was again. She had a connection to the world around her in a way she hadn’t had since being a 20-something year old. No hearing aids had ever given her what she had with cochlear implants. In a COVID world with an ailing parent, her cochlear implants gave us closeness and a connection to her when we couldn’t physically be close to her.”

In memory of Misty’s mom, Kathy.

Learn more about cochlear implants for yourself or a loved one today.

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.