After losing his hearing in the military, Will wants to inspire veterans and others with hearing loss to check their hearing regularly. His hearing journey has led him to provide guidance and comfort for many.


As a veteran and Cochlear volunteer, Will has spent a lifetime serving and helping others. His hearing journey began after exposure to loud, high decibel machinery for extended periods of time. Prior to being diagnosed with hearing loss in 2012, Will faced significant challenges in the workplace. Since being implanted in 2018 and going bilateral in 2019, he no longer experiences the same challenges and hears everything more clearly. When asked what he wants to share with others, Will said, “Always have your hearing tested yearly.” He also wants to share his belief that a hearing implant “could change your life for the better and [it] allows you to become a productive citizen in society again”.

Veteran, Will, shares his hearing journey.

Hearing the conversation clearly

Will recently upgraded to the Cochlear™ Nucleus® 8 Sound Processors and loves the capabilities they offer. “The streaming abilities allow me to be engaged in conversations, listening to different groups of people … without having to ask what was said.” A new feature called SmartSound® iQ 2 with SCAN 21, automatically adjusts the Nucleus 8 Sound Processor to your environment. It’s designed to help you hear conversations more clearly and easily, particularly in noisy situations so you can experience your best hearing.2 3 4 5 6

Veteran, Will, shares his hearing journey. He stands with his wife looking in a mirror.

Staying active and enjoying life

When he’s not spending time with his wife, this former teacher is an umpire for fast-pitched softball. He can hear what’s happening around him on the field. Will shared he loves using ForwardFocus7 because it allows him to block out background noise. Even more than hearing the sounds at the ballpark, he loves hearing the birds in summer!

Veteran, Will, shares his hearing journey. Will is an umpire in his catching position.

Volunteering with Cochlear

Will enjoys listening to candidates and sharing his story, but he especially loves watching their faces light up if they’ve had a similar experience. He regularly tells others that are considering a cochlear implant that, “It gave me my life back. Mainly when it comes to conversations, family, work and most of all the enjoyment of my grandkids.”

If you are considering a Cochlear hearing solution, you may want to connect with others who have gone through the process, like Will, and are now hearing what they couldn’t before. There is a large community of people who want to support you and share their stories.

Veteran, Will, shares his hearing journey.

Candidates have openly expressed appreciation for Will’s candor, support, and encouragement. His enthusiasm for the joys of hearing and living life unbound by hearing loss are contagious, and his efforts to transform lives by spreading awareness are valued by so many.

We’re so glad Will’s hearing journey led him to volunteer at Cochlear. If you are considering a Cochlear hearing solution and want to connect with a volunteer: click here.

  1. It is recommended that SNR-NR, WNR and SCAN be made available to any recipient, ages 6 and older, who is able to 1) complete objective speech perception testing in quiet and noise in order to demonstrate and document performance and 2) report a preference for different program settings.
  2. Cochlear Limited. D1864200 SCAN-X Design Description
  3. Cochlear Limited. D1964109 CLTD5804 Clinical Investigation Report
  4. Mauger SJ, Warren C, Knight M, Goorevich M, Nel E. Clinical evaluation of the Nucleus 6 cochlear implant system: performance improvements with SmartSound iQ. International Journal Of Audiology. 2014, Aug; 53(8): 564-576. [Sponsored by Cochlear]
  5. Mauger S, Jones M, Nel E, Del Dot J. Clinical outcomes with the Kanso™ off- the-ear cochlear implant sound processor. International Journal Of Audiology. 2017, Jan 9; 1-10. [Sponsored by Cochlear]
  6. Wolfe J, Neumann S, Marsh M, Schafer E, Lianos L, Gilden J, O’Neill L, Arkis P, Menapace C, Nel E, Jones M. Benefits of Adaptive Signal Processing in a Commercially Available Cochlear Implant Sound Processor. Otol Neurotol. 2015 Aug;36(7):1181-90. [Sponsored by Cochlear]
  7. ForwardFocus can only be enabled by a hearing implant specialist. It should only be activated for users 12 years and older who are able to reliably provide feedback on sound quality and understand how to use the feature when moving to different or changing environments. It may be possible to have decreased speech understanding when using ForwardFocus in a quiet environment.
Anna Martinez
Anna Martinez is the Associate Volunteer Engagement Manager and has worked for Cochlear since 2016. She is responsible for communication and onboarding with the Cochlear volunteer community. Anna is a Colorado native and enjoys being outside in the beautiful weather with her son.