Second Cochlear Implant

“With Alex and Dr. Peck, I felt like a person. They genuinely cared about my concerns. Any time I had a question, they would answer honestly and truthfully."

Kim Lizak was not expecting to schedule her second cochlear implant surgery when she first met with audiologist Alex St. Pierre and surgeon Brandon Peck.

The 46-year-old Seacoast resident had her first implant done six years prior at another facility, where she didn’t feel much confidence in her doctor. As a result, she decided to take some time away from further treatment.

That all changed when she met St. Pierre and Peck. “It turned out that I loved them,” she said. “With Alex and Dr. Peck, I felt like a person. They genuinely cared about my concerns. Any time I had a question, they would answer honestly and truthfully. They gave me all of the information I needed to make my decision.”

Peck stressed that he wouldn’t do the surgery just to do it, but only if they felt there was a strong likelihood for a good outcome. Kim loved St. Pierre’s philosophy, which she described as, “What can we do to help the patient? What does the patient need?”

In the end, Kim made the decision to have surgery for a second cochlear implant. She first lost her hearing at age three, grew up with hearing aids, and felt on the outskirts of life in public school. At that time, no one in her family knew sign language and she learned to lip read. She could hear some sound, but not enough to understand what was being said. An ear infection that progressed to tinnitus seven years ago led to her get hearing aids and ultimately her first cochlear implant. She could hear some, but still couldn’t recognize words.

Once she’d made the decision to go forward with the second implant, Kim went through balance testing, and planning for support she’d need at home post-surgery. “On the day of the surgery, I went in and met the OR staff. The anesthesiologist explained all of the medicines he would use and why they were being given. The OR nurse also came in and I like that they were familiar faces.”

Kim was appreciative of some extra steps Dr. Peck took that day, especially making it possible for her prior implant to work as soon as she woke up in recovery. “That was a little thing, but it meant a lot,” she said.

After she had her first implant, along with a hearing aid on the other ear, Kim could hear some, but her speech recognition was non-existent. Since her second implant surgery in September, she hears more clearly than she ever has. She’s able to have a two-way conversation in person and on the phone. It is still an ongoing process, and she says she is thankful for the doctors who have helped expand her world. “When you’re deaf and you’re growing up, you think people don’t really want to talk to you. Nobody wants to hear what I have to say,” she said. “Now that I have two implants, people are more willing to talk to me. They are more willing to repeat themselves. Ten years ago, I would never have thought this was possible.”