UConn Health Audiology; Army Veteran; Veterans; Ear

Veteran’s Hearing Restored

UConn Health is using advanced cochlear implant technology to restore hearing in patients living with severe hearing loss. U.S. Navy veteran Peter Jacobs, 78, of Harwinton, Connecticut, is one of those grateful patients.

At age 18, Jacobs joined the navy and worked as a naval ship gunner. But the long-term repercussions of loud noise exposure during his military service included severe hearing loss, which surfaced in recent years.

“Anything that involved hearing, I was left out of. I couldn’t even hear at funerals,” said Jacobs. “But when I lost the ability to hear sirens and couldn’t talk on the phone, then I had to do something.”

Jacobs consulted UConn Health’s advanced ear, nose, and throat team of Dr. Daniel S. Roberts and audiologist Hillary Siddons, Au.D., about his candidacy for a cochlear implant, an electrical device that bypasses the native hearing mechanism to allow a patient to hear.

“Our recommendations for each patient are based on the degree of their hearing loss and how well a patient can understand words,” says Siddons. “If someone can understand less than 60 percent of conversations, they are likely a candidate for a cochlear implant.”

“When they first turned my cochlear implant on, it was amazing,” says Jacobs. “The best sound, other than my wife, is when I open a window and I can hear the birds. That’s wonderful.”

Following his positive patient experience, Jacobs now recommends cochlear implant technology to his fellow veterans and others who may be struggling with hearing loss.

“My message is do it, because it’s going to change your life,” says Jacobs.

“Cochlear implantation is a spectacular technology,” says Roberts. “It takes a patient from not being able to hear at all to being able to talk on the telephone. Some of the most dramatic outcomes that I have seen, and the happiest patients, are those after a cochlear implant.”

Roberts and his team care for patients experiencing hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and dizziness. Additionally, his surgery practice encompasses cochlear implantation and skull base surgery for acoustic neuromas and malignant or benign tumors.