Feb 2018 The Daily Independent
Glenn Young’s poor hearing used to make him withdraw from group settings, knowing he wouldn’t be able to understand what was being discussed. “You can be sitting right beside of me talking, it doesn’t do any good. It just sounds like garbage,” said Young, 66, referring to his past state of hearing. About 20 years ago he said he started losing his hearing but it wasn’t until over two years ago that he really began to struggle. He did have hearing aids—in fact he went through many pairs over the years. However, his hearing still wasn’t efficient, causing him to avoid things as simple as going out to eat. “I could not sit there and carry on a conversation with the rest of them,” he said.
Young said his lack of hearing was also impacting his job as an electric mechanical engineer, adding that he has to know what equipment sounds like when it’s running. These factors led to his turning point of seeking further improvement to his hearing, especially since he is around 90 percent deaf in one ear and has poor hearing in the other. He traveled to UC Health in Cincinnati to initially see if anything could be done with his hearing aids, but was told they were maximally amplified and that nothing more could be done with them. A hearing implant was then suggested and Young soon discovered the Nucleus Cochlear Implant System—something that would change his life forever. “To me it’s a miracle,” said Young, who has had an implant in one ear since August.
Leaving his appointment to have his implant turned on, Young remembers being able listen to the radio for the first time in quite a while. Arriving home, he could even finally hear crickets around his back porch. Young can also now confidently go out to eat with others, noting that in one of his past outings he could even hear someone placing an order three tables over. He referred to the difference of having the implant versus a hearing aid saying the hearing aid didn’t even do 1/10th of what the cochlear does.
Young’s implant is also the latest technology available from Cochlear. He is fitted with the Cochlear Nucleus 7, the world’s first Made for iPhone cochlear implant sound processor, which allows him to use his implant like he would headphones. “I can go to anything on my iPhone, it streams it straight to my hearing aids,” said Young, pointing out that he can accept phone calls and even listen to YouTube videos through his implant via Bluetooth. In his other ear, Young has a ReSound hearing aid that works with the cochlear implant and allows him to stream sound in both ears. Through apps on his phone, Young is able to adjust the volumes on both devices and even monitor battery life.
When his hearing worsens in his other ear, Young said he plans on getting another cochlear implant. He also said that if he could have a do-over he would have gotten his initial implant years ago, pointing out that others in his situation should strongly consider getting one. “If other people only knew what they would and what they can do, yes they should have them if they need them,” he said.