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My husband started [losing] his hearing about 30 years ago and started wearing a hearing aid 20+ years ago. When we met, he already had a profound hearing loss and the hearing aid he wore was out of date. We upgraded the hearing aid and that helped for several years. About a year and a half ago, he again was having difficulty hearing. At this point, we were told hearing aids were no longer going to help and we were referred to Dr. Brown for a consult for cochlear implants.

Cochlear implant research testimonial - UNC HealthWhen we were told he would be a good candidate for cochlear implants, we were asked if he wanted to participate in a study that could potentially help other new implant patients. Being in the nursing field myself for 31 years, I was on board with him being a part of this study, and after a brief discussion, he was too on board. We felt not only would this help future implant recipients, but if he was lucky enough, it may help him too.

Fast forward 1+ years post 1st implant (he is a [bilateral] implant patient), Victor has gone from about 20% hearing to 80%+ hearing. He is starting to emerge from the isolating shell he surrounded himself in. He is becoming more social and doing things on his own. For many years, he had to rely on other ears to assist him in most daily tasks. He now gets excited that he can do simple things without my ears, like getting an oil change and being able to have conversations with his mechanic. To normal hearing people, this may seem silly but for him, it has been life changing, as it has opened up his world from the silence he was living in.

We have even started cruising, and he starts up conversations with other passengers. This of course has made my quality of life much better as well; we can enjoy much more together. Simple conversations have become easier, and there is less misunderstanding or “guessing” in our conversations. I was also able to participate in the study [as a normal-hearing control], which was a big “eye opener” for a normal hearing person as it simulated what a cochlear implant patient “hears”. Definitely helped me understand how Victor hears and gave me a little more patience with him.

Thank you UNC Audiology for everything you have done for us.

-Victor Granados and Michele Wenger