Mark was born profoundly deaf, and was introduced to cochlear implants when he was entering college. Together with his family, Mark decided to get cochlear implants, which have benefited him throughout the years. When his son, Tate, was born with hearing loss, they learned his hearing loss was hereditary. Now, Mark and Tate are sharing the impact of their cochlear implants through a children's book they wrote together. Read more:


“This is the story of a proud father and son who are both cochlear implant wearers! I (Mark) was born profoundly deaf. My parents got me fitted for hearing aids when I was around 5 years old. I became an expert at lip reading quickly at a young age and was able to combat the hearing loss by adapting. As the years went on, my hearing got progressively worse until I suffered a concussion at the age of 18. The concussion knocked out what little hearing I had left during my senior year of high school over Christmas break.

I finished High School completely deaf and relied on notes from fellow students and lip reading to get by. I was accepted to Indiana State University, where I pursued a degree in Marketing.

Mark and Tate a father and son who experience hereditary hearing loss, posing for a family photo with their children's book in hand. Taking a risk to find a solution

During that time, my parents were researching what to do. They were led to a doctor all the way in Memphis, TN, who was doing some neat new thing called cochlear implants. After several appointments with him, my parents decided to take the risk and get me the surgery, not knowing the outcome. I remember them telling me that I’d have to put college on hold as it would be a long process getting used to the implant and learning how to train my brain to hear again.

The drive to Memphis was eight hours each way and it was rough on the family with my both of my parents working. I remember activation day and everything was sounding like a robot. From there, sounds became more clear, I was comprehending language and hearing sounds I’d never heard before. It only took two mappings and I was ready to go. I shocked everyone in how fast I picked up on the technology and how quickly I was able to adapt.

A month later after my sound processor was activated, I was at Indiana State University walking into my first class. They highly encouraged me to get a note taker in all of my classes just to help and make sure the transition went smoothly. Two weeks later, I fired the note taker and was ready to tackle all the classes on my own. I went on to graduate in four years with a degree in Marketing!

Discovering that hearing loss can be hereditary

Fast forward 10 years after I got my cochlear implant; my wife gave birth to a beautiful baby boy named Tate. He failed both of his hearing screenings at birth and we were told it’s no big deal, that is pretty common. He had severe jaundice and was life flighted to a hospital in Kentucky.

It was then we learned from testing that Tate did in fact have signs of hearing loss. He was able to beat the jaundice and become a healthy baby boy. Shortly after, we got him fitted for hearing aids at just three months old. He had speech and physical therapists starting as a baby all the way through until today.

We never truly knew just how bad his hearing was until he was 7 years old. Thanks to Covid, he pretty much did kindergarten over Zoom® and wasn’t ever in a classroom setting. When he returned to class for first grade, his teacher noticed he was constantly wandering his eyes and struggling hard in a classroom setting.

He couldn’t focus at school and was always tired. We decided to investigate his hearing further and we met up with an audiologist in Louisville, who was also my new cochlear implant audiologist. She alarmed us with the news that he was only hearing around 20 percent with both hearing aids. We were heartbroken – and before the meeting was over, we agreed we wanted to proceed with a cochlear implant as soon as possible to not delay his progress anymore.

Mark and Tate who experience hereditary hearing loss taking a picture swimming in a pool with their family. Reliability proven over 20 years

I am proud to say just several months later, Tate was outfitted with his Cochlear™ Nucleus® 7 Sound Processor. A year after his activation date, he is absolutely THRIVING! I knew that a Cochlear sound processor would be the best option for him since it has allowed me to hear for the last 20 years of my own life and I trusted the brand and the company. We believe the deafness is hereditary as my dad and my grandpa both had hearing issues so it’s four generations of hearing loss that we know about within my side of the family.

I own and operate a large company where I must talk to many customers, employees and associates every single day. This absolutely would not be possible without my cochlear implant. It has absolutely changed my life in so many ways that I could never imagine had I not had the surgery. Tate went from being scared to talk to anyone, scared to make friends and struggling in school to making new friends, reading and excelling in things he does thanks to his cochlear implant. I have never had more benefits with my implant than I have with the upgrade to the Nucleus 7 Sound Processor the last year and a half.

Accessories, Features and Benefits

The Aqua+ accessory1 allows me to now swim, enjoy functions that might be in the rain, or around water that I never could before. I went 39 years going to pools to swim and not being able to hear people or music and that was yet another life changing moment for me. We have a swimming pool at our house and it is one of our favorite hobbies and Cochlear has made it much more enjoyable for us! The Bluetooth®2 function direct to my iPhone® has been wonderful as well in doing business.

I used to have to be in quiet room or pull over and shut the car off to talk on the phone. Now with Bluetooth, I could be at a NFL® game with 55,000 screaming fans and have no problem having a conversation on the phone! Tate loves streaming directly to his iPad with his sound processor and we have plans to get him his own iPhone soon so he can FaceTime® with family and friends using the direct streaming features! Cochlear has changed the game with all the features that they have added and improved our quality of life so much that we’ll be forever grateful.

Mark and Tate who experience hereditary hearing loss, posing for a photo with their sound processors showing to the camera. Advocating for cochlear implant awareness

When we knew Tate was getting a cochlear implant, we bought all the books we could on cochlear implants with the idea that my wife and I would read them to his fellow classmates and teachers at school. We wanted them to know what a cochlear implant was and that it is pretty cool to have one! We didn’t want them to have questions or look at Tate funny when he walks into school wearing a device with a magnet sticking on his head wondering what it was.

We quickly realize that many of the kids got bored with the books that were out there and from that moment on, we knew we wanted to help create a children’s book to tell Tate’s story from his own eyes so other children can relate and understand what he and so many other kids go through.

With the help of my aunt and her friend – we were able to publish Tate and His Super Hear-O Cape which tells the story of Tate’s hearing journey and all that he has overcome! We are super proud of this book and he’s considered to be a Hear-O by all 500+ students and faculty in his school; it’s truly amazing! We hope that this book can spread more awareness and educate everyone in that we are just like you, except with difficulty hearing!

Cochlear will always be a member of our family and we can’t thank them enough for continuing to do research and work to making our quality of life better. We have been advocates for Cochlear for 20 years to many folks who reach out asking how our implants have been for us. We have met dozens of people who have cochlear implants in our travels and it’s always fun listening to their story.

I want to thank you for listening to our story!”

Cochlear implants may be a solution for hereditary hearing loss. If you or a family member are interested in more detailed information, contact us today!

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  1. The Nucleus 7 Sound Processor with Aqua+ is water resistant to level IP68 of the International Standard IEC60529. This water protection means that the sound processor with the Aqua+ can be continuously submerged under water to a depth of 3 meters (9 ft and 9 in) for up to 2 hours. This water protection only applies when you use a Cochlear Standard Rechargeable Battery Module or Cochlear Compact Rechargeable Battery Module. The Nucleus 7 Sound Processor is water-resistant to level IP57 of the International Standard IEC60529 without the Aqua+ accessory for the Nucleus 7 Sound Processor.
  2. For a full list of smartphone and app compatible devices, visit:
  3. Copyright ©2023 Zoom Video Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.
  4. 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.
  5. FaceTime, iPhone and iPad are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.
  6. © 2023 NFL Enterprises LLC. NFL and the NFL shield design are registered trademarks of the National Football League. The team names, logos and uniform designs are registered trademarks of the teams indicated. All other NFL-related trademarks are trademarks of the National Football League.
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.