Using a Cochlear Implant: Rush Limbaugh Describes What it is Like for Him

To those of you who don't know, Rush Limbaugh, a popular political conservative commentator, lost a significant amount of his hearing in 2001 and received a cochlear implant device. 

I found on The Rush Limbaugh Show a transcript from his radio show where Mr. Limbaugh describes to a caller in detail what it is like for him to use the cochlear implant. It is very interesting and I have never heard anyone talk about how their cochlear implant works for them as frankly and honestly as Mr. Limbaugh. He also talks about his hearing loss. Even if you hate him or disagree with many of his opinions, you can't deny that this is fascinating stuff.

Here is a portion of the transcript:

RUSH: I have a cochlear implant. It doesn't have nearly the sensitivity of the human ear, it's not even close.

CALLER: I was just wondering.

RUSH: Like violins or strings sound like fingernails on a chalkboard to me.

CALLER: Oh, well, I was just wondering.

RUSH: What I have to do, I can still listen to music, but it has to be music that I knew and that I've heard before I lost my hearing. And what happens is that my brain, fertile mind, provides the melody. I actually am not hearing the melody, and the way I can prove this to you, sometimes it will take me, even a song that I know, it will take me 30 seconds to identify it if I don't know what it is. Now, if I'm playing a song off iTunes and the title is there and it starts then I can spot it from the middle, but if I'm listening to a song from the beginning, and I don't know what it is, it sometimes can take me 30 seconds to recognize it, if I knew it before. But the quality of music that I hear is less than AM radio, in terms of fidelity. I can turn the bass up on an amplifier and I don't hear any difference at all. I can feel the floor vibrate, but I don't hear any more bass. I can turn highs up and I can hear the difference in the highs, but on the low end I actually cannot -- (interruption) I'm getting a note here that says: "You're not missing anything. There aren't any melodies in music today." (laughing) At any rate, you adapt to it. I've adapted.

The worst part of my hearing is being in a crowd. Like right now, I hear myself as well as I heard myself when I could hear. If I'm talking to one other person in a quiet room I can comprehend 90-95% of what they say depending on how fast they're speaking. There are some words that sound alike. But you add room noise, like if Kathryn and I are watching TV and she wants to talk to me about what we're watching, I have to hit pause or the mute 'cause I cannot hear what she's saying. Even if she's sitting two feet away I will not hear as long as there are other noises there. Any room noise when added to other room noise is gonna be louder than the one voice that I'm trying to hear. I've got the implant on my left side so if we go out in a public place, anybody on my right side, it's hopeless. I'll have to literally turn to them, and sometimes as I turn to them they turn with me. They don't know what I'm doing so we'll do pirouettes 'til I finally say, "No, you stay where you are. I'm trying to position my ear so I can hear you."

My favorite part:

RUSH: Look, folks, don't get the wrong idea. Having a cochlear implant has a lot of positives. I was out playing golf the other day with a bunch of guys, and there was a loudmouth crow in a palm tree right on the tee box, no more than ten feet above us. The thing was cawing like crazy. You just wanted to grab something and throw it at the damn bird to shut up, and it was screwing everybody's tee shots off. I mean, you can't concentrate. The guys would swing and right at the moment of impact, "CAWWW!" and you could just see the effect.

All I did was take my implant off, gently place it on the ground, and total silence. No distractions whatsoever. However, I do have tinnitus (some people say tinn-i-tus) in my right ear -- which, in my case, I constantly hear Gregorian chants. That's the noise in my right ear, but I've got so used to it I don't hear it unless I stop to focus on it, but it's always there. I always think I'm in touch with God. Gregorian chants are constantly going off in my right ear.

To read more of this transcript click here.

(e

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...