Benefits of cochlear implants in older adults go beyond restored hearing
“(BPT) – As a private pilot and frequent commercial passenger, John Walkup’s hearing worsened over a number of years. But during one memorable airline flight, he suddenly lost most of his hearing, leading to enormous life changes.
The impact of his hearing loss went beyond simply not being able to hear. His career ended abruptly. Walkup went on permanent disability and started looking for a new occupation that did not rely on hearing. Typically outgoing, he withdrew due to difficulty in communicating with others. He began avoiding social situations.
Last year, at age 71, Walkup received a co.chlear implant. A cochlear implant system is a medical option for people with severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss. Hearing aids provide limited benefit for people with hearing loss of this severity. The system includes both an internal cochlear implant and an externally worn audio processor.
“Before I had the implant, in a restaurant, I would usually smile, and nod, and chuckle when things were said that were supposed to be funny,” says Walkup. “But I didn’t hear anything other than noise. It was the beginning of an isolation that I didn’t want.”