Cochlear implant gives Columbus man the gift of music

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COLUMBUS - Pat Vincent has picked up a new hobby -- the violin!

"Music has been a big thing for me," said Vincent.

Most people his age tend not to tackle such cumbersome tasks. Vincent is 68 years old.

"It was something I always wanted to do, is play music," he said. "But, it was never really an option. Because I couldn’t do it."

Vincent is deaf. He lost hearing in his right ear when he was 13. The hearing in his left ear vanished soon after.

"I came home one night and my ears were ringing. I had a lot of tinnitus. I never had that before and I felt a little bit queasy," Vincent said.

Doctors later discovered Vincent likely went deaf because of Meniere's disease which causes dizziness, hearing loss and tinnitus, which is ringing or buzzing in the ear.

"I had all three of them," he said.

Vincent, an avid music lover, was forced to adjust to a silent world.

"It's something that I'm not sure I comprehended," he said. "I didn't need a car with a radio cause I didn't use it. I didn't need a telephone cause what would you use a telephone for?"

At the age of 60, Vincent decided to get a consultation for a cochlear implant.

"My regret is that I waited too long," Vincent said.

He was given the implant through outpatient surgery. Immediately, his love for music reappeared.

"That memory of music never goes away," he said. "So, even though I couldn't hear and I kind of forgot what music was... when it started coming back it was kind a whole new experience for me."

Vincent is now taking violin and piano lessons and practices an hour a day.

Having a cochlear implant has brightened his life and allowed him the joy of music again.

According to the U. S. Department of Health & Human Services, there are more than 324,000 registered cochlear devices worldwide. Around 40,000 of them are implanted in children.