Jan 2018 Pensacola News Journal
Joanne Kish heard sounds for the first time in about 45 years. The 81-year-old Alabama woman had a cochlear implant activated at Baptist Health Care. It allows her to hear sounds and voices for the first time since she was 36. "I'm hearing you, but I think I'm hearing you because you're so close," she said to Ed Kish, her husband of 58 years, after the implant was turned on. "He's usually pretty loud." Tucked in a small examination room with her husband and one of their five daughters, Kish worked with audiologists and a representative from the implant manufacturer as they took a range of sound measurements that gauged how the implant was working. At one point during the tests, Kish smiled, squinted her eyes and said, "That's really loud," and then tapped the hand of audiologist Heather Steinle seated next to her.
Husband Ed Kish and daughter Jane Brobst watch as Joanne Kish's new cochlear implant is turned on.
Kish lost her hearing during pregnancy because of a genetic disposition brought on by a hormonal changes, said her daughter, Jane Brobst. Kish's hearing deteriorated over the years and eventually hearing aides failed her. The couple's four other daughters have the same disposition, and all of them wear hearing aids. Brobst, the only daughter with hearing, does not have children. "This is just amazing," Brobst said. "For me, I would always talk as loud as I could. It's just a blessing."
Ed Kish said the day was "priceless." He said the partner of anyone with hearing loss will understand that during the couple's long marriage there have been plenty of frustrations for both because his wife couldn't hear him. "It causes so many problems," he said. "Misunderstandings and arguments." "I just feel so blessed right now, I can't tell you," Kish said. "It's wonderful, and yeah, it's going to be good because I'm already understanding a lot what's being said. I just expected this to be much worse."