Patient Stories: Cochlear Implant

Julie Cowan“I was born profoundly deaf (no hearing at all) and adapted with the use of hearing aids in both ears throughout most of my childhood and young adulthood. In 2003, I decided to undergo cochlear implant surgery in my left ear at UMass Memorial Medical Center. I had great success with the implant, and I began to learn and hear sounds I didn’t think were possible. The change of hearing approximately six tones to more than 20 was the key in improving overall hearing and ultimately improving my speech patterns.

“As time passed, I had exhausted the life expectancy of my implant and it was time to explore the possibilities of a second implant. Full realization of starting the process once again was more than overwhelming. After much discussion with my audiologist, Dr. Ursula Findlen, and my surgeon, Dr. Peter Weber, I was no longer apprehensive, but yet excited to experience the possibilities of what a second implant would offer me. They both were instrumental in educating me and making me feel at ease each step of the way. I can’t thank them or my entire care team enough for such exceptional service. I am so happy to say this was the right move for me as this experience has allowed me to embrace all that it entails, the rewards are endless. I am forever grateful to UMass Memorial Medical Center.”
Julie Cowan

Alfred Watson“I offer my sincere thanks to UMass Memorial Medical Center and to the team that performed my cochlear implantation. As a result of this procedure, my ability to interface with people has increased significantly. Before implant activation, my hearing and understandability were so poor that I was in self isolation. I avoided interacting with people at church suppers, restaurants and other gatherings.  More than two or three couples in conversation would overpower my ability to understand a person talking directly to me.

“Immediately after activation of the implant device, my audiologist, Dr. Findlen, asked me to repeat a few words. I understood every word she said. This was only the beginning! After leaving her office, I began to hear and recognize long-unheard sounds, such as rustling leaves, birds and conversations in busy shopping centers. I can now hear the higher two octaves of the piano, and enjoy Bach, Beethoven and Mozart again. I can now understand individual voices, as well as many long-forgotten sounds of nature. I realize I may have a period of adaptation to this instrument, but it offers an opportunity that could no longer be provided by acoustic hearing aids. I am grateful to be able to hear again!”
Alfred Watson

Available Locations:

UMass Memorial Medical Center
University Campus

55 Lake Avenue North
Worcester, MA 01655

Tel: 508-856-4161
or 508-856-4162
(TDD: 774-442-5998)