Tiena S. suffered from systemic lupus erythematosus, which caused her to lose her hearing. After struggling at work and having to put her dreams of being a singer and model on hold, she got Cochlear™ Implants and cried when she heard new sounds at her activation day. Hearing again and now ready to advocate for both hearing loss and lupus, Tiena is ready to conquer her dreams and goals:


“In the summer of 2015, I began having trouble with my hearing. I went to an ear, nose and throat doctor (ENT) where I lived and did not pass the hearing test. After several failed tests, with continued worsening hearing loss, my ear specialist presented me with an option to have cochlear implant surgery.

Challenging life with hearing aids                       

Tiena, who had hearing loss and lupus, modelingLife before my Cochlear Implants was challenging. Not being able to hear opened up a new chapter in my life. I struggled at work not being able to understand my co-workers or students when they would talk to me. I became tone deaf when I sung, so I stopped singing. I put my dreams on hold to face my new reality. That is when I knew something had to be done, and I needed more than just hearing aids. I had my first ear’s Cochlear Implant surgery in September 2016 and my second ear’s surgery in April 2017.

I was given different sound processors to choose from and I chose the Cochlear Nucleus® 6 Sound Processor. I felt it would be a great choice for me as I began my new hearing journey. Living life with my Cochlear Implant has been a blessing. I was given a second chance to hear again and for that, I am grateful. I still struggle a bit to hear what people are saying, but I know with time it will get better.

Activation day tears of joy

When I went in for activation day, the new sounds I heard had me in tears; all I could do was cry and thank God. It is crazy how you can have your hearing all of your life and within a blink of an eye, it is taken away from you. Cochlear has given me a new sound, and a second chance to hear again.

Even though this is new to me, I am hopeful that my Cochlear Implants will help me to live a new life. Accessory-wise, I use the Bluetooth® streaming with the Phone Clip and my phone and the True Wireless™ TV Streamer. I love them because the sound automatically connects to my devices.

Hearing loss and lupus

Tiena and her sound processor after having hearing loss and lupusI was 31 years old when I started losing my hearing from systemic lupus erythematosus. I am super grateful for Cochlear, because I was able to get back sound. It is my dream to one day become a professional model and singer. I had to put these goals on hold to get my health back on track, but I believe I can do whatever I set my mind to. The type of singing I am hoping one day to do is gospel. I believe in my heart there is a platform waiting for me. A platform where I can be an advocate for lupus and hearing loss.

The blessings of hearing again

Each day to wake up is a blessing in itself, and it is an even bigger blessing because I wake up and can hear again. I am looking forward to my future, because I know the best is yet to come! I will end by saying this: you never know how strong you are, until being strong is the only option you have.”

Are you struggling with hearing loss and lupus? Are you eager to get back to pursuing your dreams like Tiena? Read more about a solution that could get your life back on track.

The Bluetooth® word mark and logos are registered trademarks owned by Bluetooth SIG, Inc. and any use of such marks by Cochlear is under license.
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.