Cochlear Implant Success: When Hearing Aids No Longer Help

Local lawyer, thespian shares cochlear implant success when hearing aids no longer helped him hear.


Mitch Albaugh, who works at a law firm during the day and takes center stage at the theatre by night, was used to being an extrovert. After a surgery unexpectedly left Mitchell profoundly deaf in his left ear and his right ear suffered Meniere’s disease, he began using hearing aids.

After years in hearing aids, Mitch reached a point where hearing aids just weren’t enough. He wasn’t understanding colleagues at work, he couldn’t hear cues from other actors when onstage, and he wasn’t feeling connected to his loved ones. Mitch was feeling isolated and skirting through life on the sidelines.

Mitch moved to Winter Park in 2005 and started seeing a new audiologist who told him he needed to look into cochlear implants if he wanted better sound clarity.

Hearing aids amplify sounds and can benefit someone with mild to moderate hearing loss. However, when hearing loss progresses to moderate to profound and hearing aids start to sound like a loud, badly tuned radio, this is when a cochlear implant may help.

A cochlear implant is an FDA-approved, surgically implanted medical device that replaces the function of damaged sensory hair cells inside the inner ear, called the cochlea. Cochlear implants can help you get access to the sounds you are missing, and they are designed to help you hear better and improve speech understanding in everyday situations, including noisy environments like restaurants and large family gatherings.

Mitch had a misconception that cochlear implants were like wearing a satellite dish on the side of your head. Instead, his audiologist told him about one external sound processor available that’s the size of a small medallion, and he wouldn’t have to wear a bunch of equipment. After learning Medicare covered cochlear implants, Mitch went to a hearing implant specialist to test and see if he was a candidate for cochlear implants.* 

After being approved, he went ahead with cochlear implant surgery and received the Cochlear™ Nucleus® Kanso® System in his right ear in June 2017. Ten months after his initial surgery, Mitch got his second implant in his left ear.

With his cochlear implants, Mitch has gotten back to the life he loves. Before his implants, Mitch had to retire from acting and became the emcee at the theatre. Now, he is starring in a play that he wrote.

His life changed for the better in many other ways as well. He can hear his colleagues around the conference table at his law firm, and he can carry on conversations with his wife, Leslie – even when they are not in the same room!

“What I didn’t realize was the quality of sound that implants provide – it’s so close to normal.”

If you or someone you love is struggling to hear in their hearing aids, learn more about cochlear implants and find a hearing implant specialist near you by visiting or call 833-HearFLO or 833-432-7356 to get help today.

* Covered for Medicare beneficiaries who meet CMS criteria for coverage. Contact your insurance provider or hearing implant specialist to determine your eligibility for coverage.
Please seek advice from your health professional about treatments for hearing loss. Outcomes may vary, and your health professional will advise you about the factors which could affect your outcome. Always read the instructions for use. Not all products are available in all countries. Please contact your local Cochlear representative for product information. Views expressed are those of the individual. Consult your health professional to determine if you are a candidate for Cochlear technology.


Categories: Doctors