Walter’s life was morphed in 2003 when he suddenly lost hearing in his left side. After many years it was discovered that an acoustic neuroma caused his single-sided deafness. He received the Cochlear™ Osia® 2 System and can now resume his passion as a musician with his guitar. Read More:


“In early 2003, my life was upended and transformed in an unusual way: in one unexpected moment my left side hearing dropped out. It was immediately filled with a loud ringing sound that became known to me as tinnitus. It was quite an unexpected happening, indeed: I was, and still am, a guitar player. At the moment of change I was playing my guitar in my house; I was playing along to some music that I had going on at the time (I forget which tune I was noodling along to). My left side was facing the speaker when the incident happened.

I usually kept the volume at a rather conservative level, but I tended to play at higher treble levels—ringing guitar as opposed to overdriven types of songs. Well, when the tinnitus went off, naturally I thought I had blown out my left side hearing. This was not the case at all, but I was on an unusual journey to discover that it was something quite out of the ordinary, and quite scary, too.

Seeking the help of a professional

Months went by and my hearing on my left side was still ringing; though, the tinnitus levels had diminished somewhat; however, I had noticed that the upper frequencies had fallen off. I finally determined that this issue was not going to resolved by itself, and I had to have this looked at by a professional.

I visited a local hearing health specialist who evaluated my situation and determined that ‘my hearing loss’ (which it now was) was the effect of ‘age’ and nothing more. Now fast forward five years, and I have my hearing evaluated with another medical establishment. After an initial evaluation, the doctor directed me to have an MRI. Following the scans, I was informed that I have an acoustic neuroma.

Afterwards, I am told by the surgeon (whose specialty is acoustic neuroma surgery) that I have three options: The first is to have the surgery with having the tumor removed completely. The second would be to have the neuroma treated with Cyberknife radiation surgery and the third is to do nothing and wait to see if the tumor increases in mass and then make a decision as on what course of action to take.

I opted for the third. Now, fast forward two years, and another MRI determines that something must happen soon, or; I will no longer have the Cyberknife option or I will die. In February 2011, I elected to go with the option of Cyberknife surgery. Fast forward two years and my tumor has now been effectively eradicated…for the moment, that is.

Trying a to find a solution

The Osia 2 System, shown attached to Walter, a musician with an acoustic neuroma causing single-sided deafness. Around 2015, the hearing on my left side was almost completely extinguished; however, I did have some residual hearing left so I opted to splurge for a hearing aid. Initially, the aid helped fill in the missing left side gap; however, the high frequency range was effectively gone from the stereo landscape. Still playing guitar, but now in a semi regular band, it was essential for me to have stereo hearing if I wanted to continue my erstwhile rock band performing.

In early 2022, 19 years after the acoustic neuroma first hit me, my MRI was still looking very good—the neuroma had diminished to the point where it was not an immediate threat; however, it will still have to be monitored in the years to come. Still, the years of having it so close to my hearing nerve did its damage…I was now effectively deaf on my left side.

The Osia 2 System

After this recent scan, I was directed by my current health care provider to have yet another hearing test; however, with this one there would be a massive option that would result in almost a complete reversal of my mono problematic world—I was introduced to the Osia System as a treatment option for my hearing loss. In July 2022 I opted to have the operation for the surgery. It was about to be one of the best decisions I have ever made…

After a one-month recovery I was fitted with the external Osia Sound Processor. WOW! I’ll never forget hearing the leaves rustle again along the sidewalk or hear a bird chirp from a specific location and actually pinpointing where it was! That blew my mind!

After receiving my sound processor, I slowly started adapting to hearing conversations again more clearly without having to utter that dreaded word, ‘what?’. The performing band situation was an instant success. From the onset, the Osia Sound Processor never failed to help me achieve even more than it promises—I could actually hear: the highs of ALL of my given performances as well as the lows of the bass and kick drum. The most outstanding thing of all—I could actually hear myself playing at volume—at times prior, I would actually not realize my volume was either too low, or not turned up at all on my guitar!

Returning to the sound I needed

Essentially, for all intents and purposes, I have returned to the stereo world. It is still a little bumpy in a loud room, but even now 10 months after activation, it has improved in a very loud conversation, restaurant type setting. I still have to go through an MRI, or two, in the ensuing years/decade, so the magnet will have to come out, and then put back in. It will be a hassle then; however, is this inconvenience worth it? Yes, I believe that there’s no doubt about it.

People have often asked: does the tinnitus go away? In my case no, but being able to hear better with the use of the Osia device has helped (almost totally) ignore my old deficit from a bygone stereo of the yesteryear world.”

If you have experienced single-sided deafness as a result of an acoustic neuroma, the Osia 2 System may be a solution for you! See your options today.

  1. In the US, the Osia system is cleared for children 12 years and older. In Canada, the Osia system is approved for children 5 years of age and older.
Jesse Griego
Jesse Griego is the Social Media Specialist at Cochlear Americas. Jesse finds inspiration daily in the resiliency of our recipients and their hearing journeys. Jesse was born and raised in Colorado and in his free time enjoys being a wrestling and lacrosse coach, playing guitar and being with his hound dog.