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Sharing Stories

Bill's Story

As a child I was one that had a lot of infection in my ears. At about 10 years old the infection was so bad that the Doctor went in and punctured the ear drum to drain the infection out and that was supposed to heal over.

At the early age of about 13 or 14 I started losing my hearing but it was a very slow thing and in my twenties I started to wear a hearing aid in the ear that was losing the hearing the fastest and it was not successful so I didn't wear one for a few years. So one day a friend told about a friend of his having surgery and could hear much better. I went and talked to him and to the Doctor that did the surgery and was tested and was told that I was not a candidate for that type of surgery and to make up my mind that I was going to wear a hearing aid. I did and it was put in the good ear and it helped a lot. But as time went along it helped but not as much as it should and moisture from sweating the way I do it would short out and it finally quit and I would have to get a new one.

In 1994 S.I.U. School of Medicine and Carle Clinic had a meeting about the Cochlear Implant. My wife and I, along with our daughter, went to it and was told to be tested for the cochlear implant and was told that I was hearing too much at that time. About 5 years later the audiologist at S.I.U. asked if I had ever thought about the Cochlear Implant. I told him what I had learned 5 years ago and he said, "I do not believe that today. Let me make you appointment with Carle Clinic and get tested again."
That was in the fall of 1999. I went and Dr. Novack and the audiologist have been just  wonderful with me. Just before Christmas of 1999 I had surgery and got hooked up about 6 weeks later and I could hear many things that I had not heard in years and that was also with the help of a new aid in the best ear.

As time went along and as the hearing in the good ear was getting worse I was wondering and praying about how I could get one for the other ear for my insurance would not pay for the second one. In the spring of 2004 money came my way. My wife and I talked about it and decided that my parents would not care if I spent some of it on another cochlear implant. So now I have bilateral implants and I do good in hearing if I can see or be close to the person that is talking. I still have a problem with the phone but can hear my wife and my daughter if they will slow down and say simple words to me.

I have been asked by many why I went to Carle Clinic when they do it here in Springfield now. My answer to that is that Carle Clinic is the best and the staff there is very good. Back in 1999 Carle was the closest one that did that. In February of 2007 the internal device of the first one went bad for some unknown reason and you talk about being worried about not hearing. I certainly was. Thank God that I had the good ear done for I would have been completely deaf if I had not got the good ear done when I did.

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Resources What is a cochlear implant?  What does insurance typically cover?  What are the ongoing costs?  Connect to our Resources page to view the only online clearinghouse of up-to-date cochlear implant information. CLICK HERE FOR RESOURCES
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