For those of us who are relatively healthy, it is extremely easy to take our five senses for granted. We depend on sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell so much, that it is almost impossible for most of us to even imagine what life would be without them.
But many millions of people are not so fortunate, and whether someone is born with a hearing impediment, or loses their hearing because of disease or injury, it can be a profoundly difficult world to navigate in silence. We just found a remarkable story about a young woman who, thanks to the miracles of science and technology, is finally getting a chance to hear her husband’s voice for the first time. You are going to love this heartwarming video when you watch it.
Cora Lutes of Norfolk, Virginia, began to lose her hearing when she was just two years old. She has spent most of her life assisted by hearing aids, but the condition that was causing her to lose her hearing was progressively worsening.
Her husband, James, talked about it in a post to his social media, saying “When I met her she was still able to hear. But after I joined the Navy she slowly got worse and lost her hearing completely.”
But Cora recently underwent a surgical procedure called a cochlear implant. A cochlear implant is a tiny electronic device that is installed just inside the ear and is connected by an electrode to the cochlea inside, and to additional electronic components outside the skin. They work by bypassing the entire ear system up to the cochlea. An external microphone, positioned behind the ear, transmits an auditory signal to the internal electronics. The signal is then routed directly to the cochlea by the electrode.
While cochlear implants have been around for about two decades, they still have yet to reach their full potential, however, in some cases, the results can be nothing short of miraculous.
In a video that James posted shortly after the surgery, we are given a front row seat for Cora’s post-operative visit to her doctor. In the clip, which has gone viral with more than five million views so far, Cora begins by saying she can only hear a very loud squeaking noise. But very soon, she begins to smile as she recognizes the voice of her doctor.
The doctor tells Cora that it will take a bit of time to get used to the implants, and then he encourages James to speak up.
As his wife laughs, James says “How’s my voice sound?”
He repeats the question before Cora responds “You’re loud! It’s amazing.”
Her laughs become tears of joy as she is flooded with the emotions of finally hearing her husband’s voice again.
While cochlear implants have been installed in more than three hundred and fifty thousand people around the world since their introduction, there are still questions about their efficacy. In some studies, evidence has emerged that they can increase the risk of developing tinnitus for patients who previously had not experienced it.
Many in the deaf community also see cochlear implants as an intrusion into their way of life and a culture who has developed its own language, by the hearing majority.
Do you or someone you know suffer from hearing loss? Have you considered cochlear implants to correct it? Share your stories with us here.