Kevin’s Story: One More Thing that Makes Me Special

By Kevin Lopez

Kevin with Dr. Daniela Carvalho, director of Rady Children’s Hearing Program

Did you ever stop to think how hard life would be if you lost the hearing in one ear? I never did, until one day I didn’t have to think about it because it happened to me.

My name is Kevin; I’m a 17-year-old kid who has a unilateral cochlear implant. This means I only have to wear the implant in one ear.

My hearing loss, in my right ear, happened when I was 16. The doctors say it was from an infection that partly paralyzes the face, but for me, the infection affected my ear. The last thing I remember is having ringing in my ear after a loud bird was screeching near me.

When I first got my processor it was really hard to understand anything because I had normal hearing on one side and wire/ telephone-sounding hearing on the other. However, it was easy getting used to all the voices, and soon after I got the processor I could hear. The only problem was that all the voices sounded like Alvin (the Chipmunk).

The audiologist told me it would take a while to get use to all that. It can feel weird to have the implant magnetized with your body, but it takes about a week to get used to the feeling. The part that really catches me off guard is when the processor magnetizes to other metals.

Overall, the experience has been great since it makes you feel better about having something new and it can be scary, but all of the doctors and staff were very supportive during the entire process. Now I just see it as its one more thing that makes me special.

Published September 2018