Speaking Up For Themselves

Various cochlear implant users wrote stories about their personal journeys as cochlear implant users. They range from pediatric cochlear implant users to former hearing aid users.  Click on each name to view their story.

  • Jordan S.Jordan was born deaf and received a cochlear implant at age ten.  The valedictorian of his high school, he is studying to become a physician.
  • Abigael B.Abby received a cochlear implant at age eleven and is now studying to become a listening and spoken language educator to help children with hearing loss just like her learn to listen and talk.
  • Deaf Mom of Two Deaf Children - A deaf mother who signs and speaks and chose cochlear implants for her children with hearing loss talks about raising a new generation of deaf children.
  • Michael N. - Michael shares the essay about his life that earned him the 2008 Graeme Clark Scholarship from Cochlear Americas.
  • Nichole - Nichole was raised with the Auditory-Verbal approach and received a cochlear implant after losing her residual hearing.  Her father shares an excerpt from his blog about the hearing she has gained with her CI.
  • Jeremy V.Jeremy shares his story of being a bridge between signing and speaking worlds.
  • Mardie M.As a child, Mardie received therapy from Auditory-Verbal pioneer Helen Beebe.  She received a cochlear implant as an adult.
  • Jessica H. - Jessica, a high school honor student, was raised with the Auditory-Verbal approach and received her first cochlear implant at age two.
  • Adam H.Adam, who lost his hearing to meningitis and received a cochlear implant at age two, shares some of his poetry.
  • Elena L. - Elena lost her hearing to meningitis and received a cochlear implant at age four.  In 2008, she earned the title of Miss Pennsylvania’s Outstanding Teen with a platform of promoting Oral Deaf Education.
  • Tom M. - Tom received cochlear implants as a teen and shares about his busy life of extracurricular activities.
  • Ally S. - Ally is a bilateral cochlear implant user and an audiologist who specializes in cochlear implants.
  • Patty H.Patty was one of the first children to receive cochlear implants in the United States when she was implanted in 1989.
  • Lily B.Lily’s cochlear implant, which she received at 2.5 years of age, allows her to enjoy music and participating in theatre productions at her mainstream high school.
  • Alex - Alex was raised with Cued Speech and received a cochlear implant at age five.  Now in college, his majoring in Aerospace Engineering.
  • Cindy W.Cindy, who has been on both sides of the CI/Deaf Culture debate, shares the story of how she decided to receive a cochlear implant as a deaf adult.
  • ToniDespite advanced age and other health challenges, Toni received a cochlear implant that allowed her to re-engage with the hearing world.
  • Caitlin J.Caitlin was raised with the Auditory-Verbal approach and received a cochlear implant at age four.  Today, she is studying biomedical engineering and serves as a role model for young children with hearing loss.
  • Melissa W.Melissa, who attended a deaf school for primary grades and received a cochlear implant at age ten, discusses the differences the CI has made in her life.
  • Katie M. - Katie, a 2006 Graeme Clark Scholarship recipient and bilateral cochlear implant user, is passionate about performing arts and ASL interpretation of Broadway performances,
  • Rachel C. - Rachel Chaikof, founder of Cochlear Implant Online and one of the first children in the United States to receive a cochlear implant, shares her story.
  • Jessica C. - Jessica Chaikof, Rachel’s younger sister, shares her story of hearing with cochlear implants and growing up listening and speaking.
  • Rob D. - Rob from Australia grew up with bilateral hearing aids and received bilateral cochlear implants as an adult.
  • Vivie M. - Vive from Greece grew up oral with hearing aids and received cochlear implants as an adult.  She shares her story beautifully in her second language, English.
  • Rhianon G.Rhianon grew up with hearing aids and received a cochlear implant at age eighteen.  She is a documentary filmmaker and advocate for people with disabilities.
  • Leah D. - Leah, a graphic designer, grew up with the Auditory-Verbal approach and received a cochlear implant at age nine.
  • Katie-Louise B.Katie-Louise, a football (soccer) fan from England, received a cochlear implant as a university student.
  • Jennifer E. - Jennifer, from Canada, shares how her cochlear implant has helped to give her the independence and confidence to explore life in a new country (Australia).
  • Laura S.Laura, who is deaf due to a mitochondrial disorder, shares her story of cochlear implant failure and re-implantation.
  • Robyn C. - Robyn from New Zealand shares her experiences of going through cochlear implant failures but notes that going through surgery to hear again is absolutely worth it.
  • Blue O. – Blue O’Connell, a late-deafened adult, shares her story of her journey to hearing and relearning to appreciate music with cochlear implants as a musician.
  • Mark C. - Mark Campell is both a bilateral cochlear implant recipient and a cochlear implant audiologist at Mass Eye and Ear Institute in Boston.
  • Danielle M. - Danielle was born severely-to-profoundly deaf and was fitted with hearing aids at a young age.  She shares the struggles of growing up with hearing loss due to the lack of parental involvement and help from the school.  However, there is a happy ending to the story!
  • Sharon C. -  Sharon Crouch is a late-deafened who has bilateral cochlear implants. She shares a piece of her story on how cochlear implants have changed her life.
  • Lori M. - Lori Murphy is a teacher of the deaf who is also a cochlear implant recipient. She also worked with Krista Donaldson, one of the first children in Canada to receive a cochlear implant.
  • Carmen M. - Carmen Meissner, a high school student who is a cochlear implant recipient, guest starred a small role on the first episode of Switched at Birth as a student at the Carlton School for the Deaf.  She played a role in a scene where she told Daphne that she did a good job in playing basketball.
  • Heather A. - Heather Artinian from Sound and Fury updates us on what she has accomplished so far in her life as a cochlear implant recipient and provides us some in sights on her thoughts on the film as an adult today.
  • Katherine H. - Katherine was born with normal hearing but gradually lost hearing as she grew up.  She grew up in a Deaf culture.  She recently received a cochlear implant four months ago and while she is still learning to hear with her cochlear implants, she is enjoying being able to hear well again!
  • Elisa - Elisa is a cochlear implant recipient who shares the challenges she faced with hearing loss and her transition to hearing with the cochlear implant.
  • Malory H. – Malory is a young adult cochlear implant recipient who learned to communicate through hearing, speaking and sign language.
  • Lisa M. – Lisa grew up with hearing aids and went to both oral school and mainstream school. She first received her cochlear implant as an adult.
  • Margo K. - Margo lost hearing in her left ear when she was a child and then lost hearing in her right ear as an adult.  She first received her cochlear implant in 1989.
  • Ruth F. - Ruth had progressive hearing loss and first received her cochlear implant in 1986.  She plays the violin and was a librarian and a special education teacher.
  • Jasmine S. - Jasmine is a young adult cochlear implant recipient who was born profoundly deaf due to Usher Syndrome.  She is currently training in track and field to participate in the Deaf Olympics in Sofia, Bulgaria.  She is also currently studying to become an audiologist.
  • Kris M. - Kris Martin is a cochlear implant recipient from Canada and learned to hear and speak with the Auditory-Verbal approach. He dreams to become a NASCAR race car driver and finds that his cochlear implant helps him race effectively as it requires good communication skills.
  • Jacob L. - Jacob was born with moderate hearing loss and first received his cochlear implant at the age of 10 years old when his hearing became worse.  He is riding a bike to all 30 baseball stadiums to raise funds for cochlear implants.
  • Bethany M. – Bethany is a young adult cochlear implant recipient who is very passionate about advocating for cochlear implants.  She created a few videos sharing her experiences about hearing with cochlear implants.  She was born profoundly deaf and then received a cochlear implant at a young age.


Various cochlear implant users have also spoken about their journeys through videos.

  • The SamsonsTania and Jonathan Samson were raised with the Auditory-Verbal approach and received CIs as adults.  Now, they are raising the next generation of listeners as both of their children are bilateral cochlear implant users.
  • Lisa G.Lisa, a wife, mother, and freelance journalist, was raised listening and speaking with hearing aids and received a cochlear implant as an adult.
  • Rachel C. - Rachel, the founder of the website, shares her story at age twenty about her cochlear implant experiences.
  • Neal S.Neal, a nine and a half year old bilateral cochlear implant user, chats with Elizabeth in this video.  His mother shares her journey as the parent of a child with hearing loss in writing.
  • NicoleNicole lost her hearing suddenly as a teenager and received cochlear implants.
  • Monique G. - Monique from Canada was raised with the Auditory-Verbal approach and received a cochlear implant at age seventeen.
  • Megan H. - Megan, an eight-year-old bilateral cochlear implant user, talks about life in the mainstream and all of her favorite sounds.
  • Emma G. - Emma is a bilateral cochlear implant user who mainstreamed into kindergarten with her hearing peers.  Here, her mother, Mary Beth, shares her story and Emma entertains us all with a video clip.
  • Hannah B.Hannah, a mainstreamed first grader with bilateral cochlear implants, talks about her life at home and at school.
  • Cindy J. - Cindy, who grew up using hearing aids, talks about how receiving a cochlear implant as an adult changed her life.
  • Ed S. - Ed was born deaf and used hearing aids until receiving a cochlear implant as a university student.
  • Mary and Charles R.Mary is deaf due to Connexin 26 and received a cochlear implant as an adult.  Her son, Charles, has the same condition and listens and speaks with the help of his CI.
  • Cory and Joanie D. - Cory and Joanie are fraternal twins who are both deaf due to Connexin 26.  They received bilateral cochlear implants at age one and are thriving in the mainstream following pre-school services at an auditory-verbal education program.
  • Jeremy W.Jeremy’s family began with sign and transitioned to spoken language as cochlear implants gave their son access to sound.  Here, Jeremy shares his story in video while his mother shares her story in writing.
  • Will S. - Will has bilateral cochlear implants and attends a mainstream school.  He shares his story via video and his mother shares her perspective as a parent in a written piece.
  • Christian W. - Christian from Germany received bilateral cochlear implants at ten months of age.  He speaks fluent German and English and is now learning French!
  • Vivie M. - Vivie, a CI user from Greece, shares her story in this video in her second language, English.
  • Michael N. - Michael, who graduated early from college with an honors degree in business, shares his story as a young adult CI user.
  • Jentry T.Jentry is deaf due to EVAS, grew up with hearing aids and received her first cochlear implant at the age of 15 years old.
  • Carole M. – Carole is an adult cochlear implant recipient who grew up with hearing aids.  She shares her obstacles of overcoming hearing loss while growing up and raising her daughter.
  • Rachel D. - Rachel is an adult cochlear implant recipient who learned to speak several languages and is an active advocate for listening and spoken language.
  • Kunal A. - Kunal is a cochlear implant recipient who is from Sri Lanka but has been living in the US for the past four years to attend a university.  He grew up with hearing aids and then received a cochlear implant at the age of 10 years old.
  • Lily B. - Lily is an accomplished cochlear implant recipient who is graduating from college and has traveled throughout Europe. She first received her cochlear implant at the age of 2 and a half in 1992.
  • Lidia B. - Lidia is a cochlear implant recipient from the UK who was born with normal hearing but began to lose hearing at the age of 12 years old.
  • Charlotte N. - Charlotte is a cochlear implant recipient who is from the UK.  She was born profoundly deaf and grew up with hearing aids.  She received her cochlear implant at the age of 30 years old.
  • Gage and Brook B. - Gage and Brook are two very active deaf children who speak and hear with cochlear implants.  Check out a video of them showing how well they communicate and interact with other people through hearing and speaking.
  • Abbie H. - Abbie was born with EVAS and started to lose hearing at the age of thee years old.  She grew up with hearing aids and then received a cochlear implant when she lost all of her hearing from a surgery to repair a deviated septum.
  • Ben L. - Ben Leigh, a cochlear implant recipient from the UK, grew up with hearing aids and then received a cochlear implant in 1999, which changed his life.
  • Nicky N. - After years of struggling to communicate and facing isolation, Nicky Newnham, a cochlear implant recipient from the UK, shares her story about receiving a cochlear implant as an adult and how it has made a positive difference in her life.  She was born profoundly deaf and grew up with hearing aids.
  • Elliot and Oliver - Elliot and Oliver are brothers and were both born profoundly deaf.  Elliot first received his cochlear implant at the age of 9 months and his second implant at the age of 5 years old.  Oliver received his first cochlear implant at the age of 6 months and his second implant at the age of 11 months.
  • Deena M. - Deena is a five year-old bilateral cochlear implant recipient who is being raised by deaf parents and has a deaf sister who is also a bilateral cochlear implant recipient.


Pediatric Cochlear Implant Pioneers

These adults were first implanted as children in 1980′s as part of clinical trials prior to the government approval.

Damian Quinn

Elizabeth Lance

Krista Donaldson

Mark Leekoff

Patty Heard

Pia O’Donnell

Rachel Chaikof

Tim Brandau