May 2021 PRNewswire

During May's Better Hearing and Speech Month, Cochlear Limited is pleased to celebrate Lou Ferrigno, 69, actor, fitness expert and retired bodybuilder, receiving a cochlear implant and addressing his hearing loss. Taking the step to treat his profound sensorineural hearing loss with a cochlear implant will aid Ferrigno's desire to remain fit and healthy as he ages.

lou ferrignoLou Ferrigno now hears the world with his Cochlear Kanso 2 Sound Processor, the first off-the-ear cochlear implant sound processor with direct streaming from both Apple and Android devices

Most known for his role in the TV series "The Incredible Hulk" and being the youngest, only two-time consecutive and Guinness World RecordTM holder for the IFBB Mr. Universe title, Ferrigno has been impacted by profound hearing loss nearly his whole life. Hearing loss started for him when he was a toddler because of ear infections, and he began wearing hearing aids at 4 years of age. Over the years, Ferrigno tried a number of different types of hearing aids – none helping him achieve the hearing he needed. In February 2021, Ferrigno underwent surgery for his cochlear implant.  His new hearing system was successfully turned on in March 2021. Ferrigno now hears the world with his Cochlear Kanso® 2 Sound Processor, the first off-the-ear cochlear implant sound processor with direct streaming from both Apple® and Android™ devices.

"I worked very hard to speak and hear with hearing aids for so long, but I finally learned that with my profound hearing loss, the best hearing aid in the world was not going to give me the clarity in speech I needed at my level of loss," said Ferrigno. "My cochlear implant has, so quickly, taken me to a new level of hearing. It's like I'm reliving my life again. I can hear S's. I've not been able to hear consonants clearly for so long, maybe ever. I have better diction and speech clarity already. Now, I don't have to try so hard to hear," Ferrigno continues.

Ferrigno describes the joy of being able to hear his wife, who whispered from 50 feet away in their home, after his implant was turned on. He is surprised by the little, ambient noises he can hear now too, like tapping and ticking of home appliances. And he is very much looking forward to hearing the cries of his new twin grandchildren. "I heard a lot of misinformation about cochlear implants over the years, but a friend of mine received the device and went from 15 percent word understanding before the implant to 95 percent with the implant," said Ferrigno. "I'm someone that has had profound hearing loss almost all my life, so if this cochlear implant is working for me already, it can give other people hope too. I wish I would have entertained a cochlear implant sooner. There is no shame in hearing loss and getting it treated."

Ferrigno has been putting practice into his hearing therapy and rehabilitation as well, underscoring that like working out, hearing rehab takes work, practice and patience. He touts his commitment to rehabilitation, including using hearing therapy apps, watching online talks and movies, as being critical to his fast success with his cochlear implant, stating "The more you put into it, the better it is."

In the United States, one out of three people over the age of 65 and half of people over 75 have disabling hearing loss, but only 5 percent of people who could benefit from a cochlear implant have them. Research continues to show ageing adults with untreated hearing loss can be substantially affected by social isolation and loneliness with impacts to brain health and quality of life. Once hearing loss becomes severe to profound, cochlear implants are the only U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved medical solution to treat it effectively. Research shows that moving from a hearing aid to a cochlear implant significantly improves hearing ability in noise, including doubling speech understanding. However, many adult cochlear implant candidates are not appropriately diagnosed, referred and treated.

Adults who currently use hearing aids can try the Cochlear Hearing Aid Check, a free online hearing check tool, to learn if they may benefit from a cochlear implant. The Hearing Aid Check aims to help individuals compare their hearing performance with hearing aids to people with a cochlear implant, and depending on their results, to seek further hearing healthcare advice to treat their hearing loss

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