Eileen P. lost her hearing in her left ear due to injuries from a car accident. Then one day, she suddenly lost all the hearing in her right ear, leaving her completely deaf. Ten years later, Eileen hears again with cochlear implants:


“My story on deafness is very unusual, as I wasn’t born deaf, never suffered with any ear infections or ear aches my entire life. My becoming slowly deaf was a result of a fender bender whiplash car accident that caused me to slam my left ear into the window. As a result of the collision, the hearing in my left ear caused restless sleep because my left ear squealed most of the night for a few months until eventually the hearing was completely gone.

Eileen, who has cochlear implants, tells about her hearing loss due to a car accidentI lived for approximately five years using only one hearing aid on my right ear. All was working well. I was always able to attend meetings by using my right side, and I would arrive early so I could sit in the right place to hear. It was interesting that none of my coworkers knew I was deaf because I learned to camouflage my disability from everyone.

Then, I retired to bed one night able to hear and communicate fine. The following morning, I woke up completely deaf, rushed to the hospital, had an MRI and various tests, all trying to prove it wasn’t a brain tumor, stroke or MS and having a spinal tab looking for meningitis. As of today, no cause has been found for losing my hearing in the right ear.

Going forward with a cochlear implant

As the day progressed, I also couldn’t hear even by using a hearing aid; everything was silent. It was a really depressing time to not hear anything. I made a trip to an audiologist, sat through another hearing test, resulting in me being told I was 100 percent deaf. I was then informed that I was a perfect candidate for a cochlear implant. At that point being 100 percent deaf, I had nothing to lose.

I’m forever grateful the Cochlear company exists. The moment my cochlear implants were turned on, I was able to hear clearly for the first time in almost 10 years since my accident. I was finally able to hear and hold a conversation, and it is wonderful. It made the people present at my activation cry as they heard me answer the questions the audiologist was asking me during the visit.

Now, after receiving my cochlear implants, I am able to function 100 percent at my current job. Shortly after I received the cochlear implants, I was nominated along with another employee as being the base’s highest achiever, a very impressive award through the U.S. Air Force stationed at Hill AFB, Utah. Without my implants, this wouldn’t be possible. I’m able to function exactly the same to other base employees who don’t suffer with deafness.

I chose Cochlear mainly because of the support I was given from both the surgeon and audiologist. Both were highly involved with my support in teaching me how to live with the implant. During my episode of living in a complete silent world, I suffered with deep depression as I started to feel like my life wasn’t worth living anymore. I was inspired to write a book about my experiences titled, ‘SILENCE,’ hoping I wasn’t alone in suffering this way (my book ISBN number is: 978-1-64096-858-5).

Hearing again after 10 years

Eileen tells of her hearing loss after a car accidentCurrently, I have the Cochlear Nucleus® 6 Sound Processors, and I really enjoy the True Wireless™ accessories that I can use directly with the processors, especially the True Wireless Phone Clip. With the Phone Clip, I can successfully talk to my family in the United Kingdom through phone messenger. I love that now I’m able to speak over the phone without any complications. At work, I have my work phone forwarded to my cellphone so I can use the Phone Clip and have a perfect conversation with the caller, something I haven’t been able to do for at least 10 years.

I love music, and it was something I missed terribly because I used to attend concerts regularly. With my Phone Clip, I can now listen to music through my phone and stream directly to my processors. I’m listening to music all day now. It took some getting used to at first; people sounded distorted, similar to Donald Duck, but with persistence and aural rehab, people sound normal to me now.

To celebrate my new hearing, we took a trip to Las Vegas to see one of my idols, Rod Stewart. It was an incredible trip, and I was able to hear the whole concert 100 percent.”

If you’re suffering from hearing loss from a car accident or other causes, look into how cochlear implants could get you back to hearing.

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.