Most known for his role in the TV series “The Incredible Hulk” and being the youngest, only two-time consecutive and Guinness World Record™ holder for the IFBB Mr. Universe title, Lou Ferrigno has been impacted by profound hearing loss nearly his whole life. Hearing loss started for him when he was a toddler because of ear infections, and he began wearing hearing aids at 4 years of age. Over the years, Ferrigno tried a number of different types of hearing aids – none helping him achieve the hearing he needed. In February 2021, Ferrigno underwent surgery for his cochlear implant and his new hearing system was successfully turned on in March 2021.
“I worked very hard to speak and hear with hearing aids for so long, but I finally learned that with my profound hearing loss, the best hearing aid in the world was not going to give me the clarity in speech I needed at my level of loss,” said Ferrigno. “My cochlear implant has, so quickly, taken me to a new level of hearing. It’s like I’m reliving my life again. I can hear S’s. I’ve not been able to hear consonants clearly for so long, maybe ever. I have better diction and speech clarity already. Now, I don’t have to try so hard to hear”.
Ferrigno describes the joy of being able to hear his wife, who whispered from 50 feet away in their home, after his implant was turned on. He is surprised by the little, ambient noises he can hear now too, like tapping and ticking of home appliances. And he is very much looking forward to hearing the cries of his new twin grandchildren.
“I’m someone that has had profound hearing loss almost all my life, so if this cochlear implant is working for me already, it can give other people hope too. I wish I would have entertained a cochlear implant sooner. There is no shame in hearing loss and getting it treated.”
Ferrigno has been putting practice into his hearing therapy and rehabilitation as well, underscoring that like working out, hearing rehab takes work, practice, and patience. He touts his commitment to rehabilitation, including using hearing therapy apps, watching online talks and movies, as being critical to his fast success, stating “The more you put into it, the better it is.”
In the United States, one out of three people over the age of 65 and half of people over 75 have disabling hearing loss, but only 5 percent of people who could benefit from a cochlear implant have them. Research continues to show aging adults with untreated hearing loss can be substantially affected by social isolation and loneliness with impacts to brain health and quality of life. For more information on Cochlear Implants, click here.