Mike D. suffered with hearing loss for many years as a child. Rupturing his eardrums after serving in the United States Marine Corps, Mike, a veteran with hearing loss, tried to use hearing aids, but they slowly stopped working for him. His wake-up call came when he was struggling to hear his daughter speak and his work performance was declining. Finally, he found help with the Cochlear Baha® Implant System, opening up a whole new world of sound: 

Veteran with hearing loss and his wife“My name is Mike. My hearing loss started young and went mostly untreated for years. As a child, ear infections and middle ear issues were the norm. By the time I was 18, I had figured out that I was missing things, but I chose to never deal with my hearing loss. I joined the United States Marine Corps, serving in an infantry unit. After an incident rupturing my eardrums, I was unable to pass a hearing test. I returned home and ignored the fact that I was missing things in conversations. I took a job in corrections, and I continued on with life.

Struggling to hear my daughter speak

Three years later, my first daughter was born and I started to get concerned because I was having trouble hearing her. Then things at work started to go downhill; I was told I was missing too many radio calls and having difficulties in meetings with being able to hear what was going on. I was referred to a doctor in Indianapolis who diagnosed me with tympanosclerosis and otosclerosis. I got my first set of in-the-ear hearing aids at 32. By the time my second daughter was born and turned 1 year old, my hearing loss was to the point of needing behind-the-ear hearing aids. Four sets of hearing aids later, I was having trouble hearing and understanding my youngest daughter as she has this sweet high-pitched little girl voice.

I went to my audiologist to get better aids, and she told me she could not get any more power and that I needed to look at other options. Until then, I thought I had been doing well…I had learned to read lips very well and considered myself fine. After testing with my doctor, he gave me what options he thought would work. He was optimistic that the new Cochlear Baha® Implant System would be the best fit. I had no idea what a Baha was! Did I really need that? Nevertheless, I was desperate, knowing I was missing more and more of the sounds in my life.

World rocked by the Baha

Veteran with hearing loss and his daughterIn July of 2016, I had my Baha abutment (Baha Connect System) implanted. The next three months of waiting for my activation were the longest in my life! Finally, October came and I received my Baha® 5 SuperPower Sound Processor for my right ear. When the audiologist turned it on and snapped it in, my world was literally rocked! Did you know that computers make noise? I also received a ReSound Enzo hearing aid for my left ear. Using the bimodal hearing solution, the two together opened up a whole new world.

When I left, I swore I would always use the stairs from now on, as I never knew elevators were so LOUD! My first trip to a public restroom had to be funny to watch…when the hand dryer came on I almost jumped out of my skin! The world was suddenly a very loud place. The first several months, I drove my family nuts asking ‘what was that sound?’

For the first time in my life I did not have to concentrate on hearing, I could just enjoy life.

Veteran with hearing loss and his Baha 5 SuperPower

Finally appreciating the sound of music

My oldest daughter is in the high school marching band, and for the first time I could appreciate the sound of the music. I became even more involved by helping with props. I could hold conversations in public and not have to see the other person’s lips. For the first time in my life I did not have to concentrate on hearing, I could just enjoy life.

The two devices paired with my iPhone® made phone conversations possible for the first time in years. The Cochlear True WirelessTM Mini Microphone 2 made meetings and conference calls just another task, not something to dread. Training classes for work were actually enjoyable; the instructors were very willing to wear the Mini Mic 2. I really enjoyed being able to participate. To say that the Baha Implant System was life changing does not do it justice. Hearing your children’s laughter, being able to watch TV without closed captioning…it is the little things that matter.”

Are you struggling to hear because of ruptured eardrums and declining hearing aid performance? Is it time for something new? Take the first step today towards better hearing, and learn more about the Baha Implant System.

iPhone is a trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.
ReSound is a trademark of GN Hearing A/S.
Cara Lippitt
Cara Lippitt is the Senior Manager, Social Media Strategy at Cochlear Americas. Cara is inspired by the stories of the recipients that she is able to tell and the incredible journeys they have taken. Cara was born and raised in Colorado and adores the mountains, snow and the world of musical theatre.