Demetrius C., also known as Meech, had a dramatic hearing loss caused by a virus. Now celebrating new cochlear implant technology, he created a documentary to showcase what life with cochlear implants is like. See why he is proud to be different and encourages others to embrace self-love and a limitless life:
“My name is Demetrius C., also known as Meech. I am 25 years old and from Staten Island, New York. I was born with normal hearing and lost my hearing in 2006 during the 8th grade after finding out I had a severe eye condition called uveitis which was caused by an unknown virus. The uveitis caused the virus in my system to continue spreading to my ears. After being put on large amounts of medication so that my eyes could get better, my hearing ended up getting worse.
I woke up one morning and noticed a dramatic change in my hearing and was told shortly after by a doctor that I indeed did lose some of my hearing in my left ear and pretty much all of my hearing in my right ear. The doctors ran a lot of tests to figure out what caused my hearing loss and diagnosed it as cogan syndrome because they could not figure out what the cause of the virus was.
Hearing with a cochlear implant
I started off wearing a hearing aid for the first few months after I lost my hearing. My parents decided it was best for me to get my first cochlear implant in my right ear in the summer of 2007 right before entering high school. A hearing aid was not benefiting me as much anymore due to the amount of hearing I had lost and having a cochlear implant was the best option for me.
Since I was not born deaf, getting used to sounds was not that much of a problem for me when I first received a cochlear implant because I was already familiar with how things are supposed to sound such as a toilet flushing, a train passing, a dog barking, etc. I often get asked if sounds with the cochlear implant are different for me compared to when I had normal hearing…everything sounds the same to me!
During my first few years of having a cochlear implant, it took me a while to adapt because I was young when I lost my hearing, so it was hard for me to accept the reality of the situation. Learning more about self-love and expressing myself instead of keeping emotions bottled in was a big help for me.
My hearing loss never affected me in school as I have always gotten good grades in high school and continued to do so throughout college. During my freshman year of college at the Rochester Institute of Technology I got my first introduction to the deaf community. During my time there, I learned some ASL and lived in dorm rooms and had classes with other deaf and hard of hearing students. It was a great experience that gave me more insight and definitely made me appreciate deaf and hard of hearing culture a lot more.
New cochlear implant technology
After having just one cochlear implant for about 10 years, I was not satisfied with how well I was hearing after a while. Due to struggling in loud environments and group conversations, I decided it was time for a change since I found out I was a candidate to get a cochlear implant for my left ear as well. I got my second cochlear implant in the fall of 2017, where I was first introduced to the Cochlear™ Nucleus® 7 Sound Processor, which I consider to be one of my biggest blessings due to the innovative features it has.
Wearing a cochlear implant is like having a unique piece of jewelry to me, I think of it as a fashion accessory that helps me stand out from everyone else. Since cochlear implants are not that common, I think it is cool when my cochlear implants get a reaction out of strangers, and I like even more when people ask me questions about them so I can help them become more familiar.
Feeling like I have superpowers
The Nucleus 7 Sound Processor’s Made for iPhone capabilities make me feel I have superpowers. I am a big music lover, so the fact that I can stream music whenever I want without headphones (and I am the only one that can hear the music playing) is amazing to me.
I benefit from using the Nucleus 7 Sound Processors daily because I can stream phone calls as well. I have honestly never had the confidence to talk on the phone in public because background noise would make it too hard for me to hear, but with the help of the Nucleus 7 Sound Processors, that problem does not exist anymore.
I also love being able to make changes to my sound processors using my phone such as changing the volume, channels and checking battery life. Since sound processor rechargeable batteries are small, I have lost them on many occasions due to having them all with me at once. Since Nucleus 7 Sound Processor batteries last a lot longer and I can check my battery life on my phone, I am more prepared and do not have to bring out extra batteries unless it is really necessary.
My documentary and limitless life
My key hobbies are listening to music, sports, trying and experiencing new things, traveling, modeling, reading and creating. My biggest achievements so far have been graduating from SUNY Empire State College with a bachelor’s degree in business management, creating my short documentary “The Unheard” and having a release party for it.
“The Unheard” is a short documentary that I created about my hearing-impaired lifestyle and cochlear implants to inform people with normal hearing what someone like me goes through on the daily basis. My purpose for creating the documentary is to inspire people to be comfortable in their own skin and to embrace what makes them unique.
Having cochlear implants play a role in my success because it motivates me to work even harder to continue to prove to myself and to others that limits are nonexistent. The only limits that exist are the ones that you place on yourself. I know what I am capable of doing, and I do not feel that a hearing disability will ever get in the way of what I want in life. In the future, I plan on figuring out ways to get my documentary shown in schools throughout NYC to teach students more about self-love and to increase awareness. I also plan on continuing to invest in my own ideas and eventually opening my own business one day.”
Are you struggling with your hearing aids? Are you interested in new cochlear implant technology? Discover more now.
- For information on sound processor and app compatibility, visit www.cochlear.com/compatibility.
- Apple, the Apple logo, Made for iPad logo, Made for iPhone logo, Made for iPod logo, iPhone, iPad Pro, iPad Air, iPad mini, iPad and iPod touch are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.