In April of 2023, Cochlear embarked on a mission: to share recipient stories about their journey to a hearing implant. Not only did we meet some incredible volunteers, but we also were able to hear stories from every side of the country. We learned about a medical physicist from New York who was able to enjoy her family’s history of music as well as confidence in her career again. We listened to stories from a grandfather in Wisconsin who found love through the Cochlear volunteer program and is working his way up to playing music again. We also met a triathlete who was able to enjoy her active lifestyle more thanks to her implant. Let’s meet these recipients and look at a day in their lives as the stars of our video shoot!
Rediscovering music and connecting with family
For one of our most dedicated volunteers, Mike, starring in a video shoot was a totally new experience. Mike decided to pursue a Cochlear hearing solution after the passing of his beloved wife, whom he referred to as his ‘ears’. “I was well on the way to becoming a recluse,” Mike said, until he met a Cochlear volunteer named Marcia who helped him decide that a Cochlear solution was the right way to go.
“He was very sincere and really looking for answers and wanting a better quality of life. He really wanted to know that this was the right thing for him,” Marcia explained.
Soon, their long calls about Cochlear turned into long calls about life, and the two discovered a connection that they hadn’t expected.
During their video shoot, Mike surprised everyone by playing a song for Marcia on his guitar! Continuing to work on understanding music pitch and tone is one of Mike’s biggest goals since deciding to get his implant.
Mike also invited his family to the video shoot for the final shot in front of a roaring fire in the backyard; it was clear to see that Mike’s greatest hearing win is reconnecting with his family members.
Winning back competition in retirement
Our team was blown away the second we met Kathy, an Ironman® Race competitor from Washington. A former operating room nurse, Kathy was hesitant to admit she needed cochlear implants, until an outing with a friend encouraged her to see the light.
“We went out for a little glass of wine and I struggled to hear in the noisy environment,” Kathy said. When her friend told her that a cochlear implant may help her more than anything she was currently using, Kathy felt a shift.
“That conversation with her was really kind of the turning point […] but it really took a couple of months for me to say, okay, yes, I am on board and let’s move forward.”
After moving from the Midwest to Washington, Kathy began to get active and now has several marathons under her belt. When deciding to make the move from the half Ironman® Race to the full, Kathy said, “I don’t want to be half anything.”
Kathy not only applied that attitude to her hearing journey but also to the video shoot. The team started off the day with a bike ride and then moved to a beautiful hiking trail in Golden, Colorado. We then came back to the house for a swim in the backyard. As soon as the pool’s current was switched on, a blizzard began: regardless, Kathy swam through the bad weather and proved how resilient she truly is. We ended the day with pizza and stories about Kathy and her husband, Hank’s travels.
Gaining the confidence to succeed at work
We first met Debra at a Cochlear virtual event, where she shared her journey to a hearing solution with interested candidates. She excitedly talked about how much the implant changed her life, and that was the moment we knew we had to feature her story as one of our Win Back recipients.
Debra is a woman who has worked incredibly hard for her career as a medical physicist, a job where she provides radiation safety training to patients and tests imaging equipment for a large health system. In 2020, when everyone masked up, Debra struggled.
“Unless I was directly in front of the patient, it sometimes became difficult to understand the questions that the patient was asking,” Debra told us.
When Debra finally did seek out a Cochlear hearing solution, she noticed a positive change in every aspect of her life, including her career.
“I wish I had done this sooner, but this has made me a much stronger person. I’m a very assertive person. It’s given me so much more confidence that I wouldn’t be able to explain to you. If you put it on a scale from 1 to 10, having the implant has put me right at a ten because there are no more sleepless nights. I feel very confident of what tomorrow’s going to bring.”
Our video shoot adventure took us to a medical lab in Lakewood where Debra suited up and got comfortable with the equipment. We made our way back to the Cochlear offices to shoot scenes in our beautiful building. See if you can spot it in the video! Finally, Debra and her husband joined us at a local park at sunset to enjoy the final moments of their video shoot before wrapping for the day.
Thank you to our recipients
We want to thank our recipients for joining us in Colorado to share their hearing journeys, and we also want to thank our production company Honest Films who helped us to tell their stories. You can view Mike, Kathy and Debra’s hearing win videos on our Cochlear Americas’ YouTube Channel.