Aug 2017 Lynchburg News & Advance

Deteriorating hearing has gotten in the way of some of the activities that define Lynchburg’s Bernie Davis to his loved ones. Years of research and consideration led Davis to take the plunge and get a cochlear implant, which was turned on in time for his 80th birthday. He said he’s known about his hearing problems for more than 20 years and has worn hearing aids for 17 years, receiving three hearing aid upgrades in that time. He said his hearing capability with the aids varied with the situation. Those hearing issues got in the way when Davis and his wife attended Lynchburg Civil War Round Table meetings and periodic Jones Memorial Library lectures, where they’d always have to sit in the front row. Helen Davis said afterward she’d have to fill her history buff husband in on parts of the lectures he didn’t catch. Now, Bernie Davis said he’ll be able to take a small microphone wirelessly synced with his implant to lectures like that so he can understand them better.

“I say it’s a crapshoot because sometimes I can understand it real well and sometimes I can’t understand it at all, and other times it’s halfway in between,” he said, referring to how his hearing aids didn’t help him completely at the events. “I hope that I would be able to go to something like that and understand it well [with the implant].” Davis said putting in the implant made him completely deaf in his right ear naturally, so he’d have to depend on the implant to have any hearing at all in that ear. “My hearing was so bad on the right here that if I lost it all, I wouldn’t have lost much,” he said laughing.

Bernie Davis

Wearing his new cochlear implant, Bernie Davis blows out candles on a birthday cake 

As a regular volunteer for the Old City Cemetery, Davis has helped straighten up and repair headstones and worked on various projects on the grounds. He’s also done volunteer work for Poplar Forest during special events and has helped his wife, Helen, and the other members of the area Daughters of the American Revolution chapters with projects — doing some of the heavy lifting along with other husbands. With a history of running marathons and ultramarathons, Davis still walks about nine miles most days and has taken to listening to audiobooks while walking as what he thinks would be a kind of training for his ears.

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