Matthew became deaf as a result of bacterial meningitis when he was a child. His family chose to have him receive a cochlear implant, which have helped him through his education and as he builds his career in media. Learn about Matthew and his achievements with his cochlear implants in an interview below:


Can you tell us how you lost your hearing and the journey to your implant?

“January 27, 1999, I was a typical 2½ year old playing with my favorite toy airplane. January 28, the next day, I was deaf. I had contracted bacterial meningitis that left me with a diagnosis of profound bilateral hearing loss and left my parents in a world full of anxiety and fears of the unknown.

Even before formal hearing tests were performed, it was clear to my parents that my hearing was affected by this illness. In the hospital, I was sitting on my mother’s lap with my back to her waiting patiently for her to read me a story. Finally, I said, ‘Read it, read it!’ Little did I know she had already been reading to me.

As weeks went on, my health improved, but my hearing did not.”

Matthew who became deaf from bacterial meningitis, posing with a microphone for a picture. Was there anything specific that impacted your family’s decision for Cochlear as the brand for your hearing implant?

“Since it was so long ago, there weren’t really that many options, however, my parents did thorough research and obtained advice from my doctors and settled on Cochlear. I can say though that Cochlear has been phenomenal – from the customer service and to the device itself!”

Can you explain what it has been like living with a hearing implant? What are your favorite benefits? Accessories?

“Every day, I wake up and my world is complete silence. Without this device, I would not be the person I am today. The Bluetooth® feature is phenomenal. I can talk on the phone1 listen to music and YouTube® videos without the hassle of headphones.”

Matthew who became deaf from bacterial meningitis posing for a picture while standing at a podium in a courtyard outside his college. How does your hearing implant play a role in your work or hobbies? Do you have any examples of success of achievements?

“One of my proudest moments was getting an award my senior year for ‘doing the most for and bringing the most honor to the school.’ This award is judged by the senior class (which had over 700 students). I was deeply humbled, honored and grateful.

Some of my greatest achievements though were graduating college in 2018 from Iona University with a BA in Broadcast Media and a minor in media, politics and society. I will be graduating with a masters degree in Public Relations in 2024!

I was President of the college’s TV station and had two radio shows, which helped me achieve an internship at a news network my senior year.

I currently work in an Employee Benefits office for the City School District of New Rochelle as well as the Communications Office. I also host a radio show, ‘The Chamber Show’ on WVOX, which is a local radio station in New Rochelle, NY. I work as field producer for ‘The Bronx Zoo’ a TikTok/YouTube/social media show. We interview all sorts of baseball fans, but our main focus are Yankees fans and getting their reactions. Every year I also host the broadcast for New Rochelle’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.”

What’s next for you? Future goals?

“I’m hoping to get a job in media, whether that’s a TV host, radio host and/or campaign manager.”

If someone you know has experienced deafness as a result of bacterial meningitis, cochlear implants may be a helpful solution. Learn about these devices today!

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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.