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RUSH: John in Columbia, South Carolina. Great to have you on the program. Hi.

CALLER: 24/7 dittos, Rush.

RUSH: Thank you very much. That means he’s a subscriber to my website, folks. Appreciate that.

CALLER: Yes, sir. I don’t have to the opportunity to listen to you live so I always listen to yesterday’s program. So you’ve been a faithful front seat partner for me, and the longer I listen, the smarter I get and the funnier you get.

RUSH: Well — (laughing) — thank you. The program’s never out of date whenever you hear it, so you’re cool, you’re hip. You’re up to speed on things.

CALLER: Well, my question was, I’ve been interested about your cochlear implant.

RUSH: Right.

CALLER: I’m a physical therapist. I work with people with disabilities and the way you’ve explained the impact on hearing personally has given me some insight to work with my patients. But my question was, knowing what you’ve shared about your cochlear implant, have you had any concern in regard to the implant might affect the quality or loudness of your speech, that your voice could possibly change from that feedback we get from hearing our own voice?

RUSH: Let me tell you what was happening. It’s a very, very good question. I remember I was going deaf and didn’t know it. Little things were happening, for example, the ventilation fan in a room didn’t sound as loud to me. So I’d call the company, “There’s something wrong with the fan, it’s not working right.”

They’d come, “No, it’s perfectly fine.” I didn’t know I was losing my hearing. I also didn’t know that my voice was changing. And one of my partners after the program one day came up to me and said, “Look, this is the hardest conversation I’ve ever had to have with anybody.”

I’d been hearing that things were wrong with my voice. I thought at the time it was a problem, we had a piece of techno gizmo called Cashbox that was intended to allow more commercials to be played, and I thought that was what was speeding up my voice and so forth, and making it sound different to people. It turns out I was going deaf. I didn’t know it yet. I certainly didn’t know how fast, and my voice was changing. The cochlear implant saved — my voice would have eventually deteriorated to the point that nobody would have wanted to listen to me and I would have had to stop this. The doctors all said that.

I’m a voice expert. I know how my voice feels when I speak, and I asked them, “Look, my memory of how I feel when I’m speaking properly.” “Nope, that won’t save you. You have to be able to hear yourself or you will not be able to speak as you do now.” So it is the implant, it’s good enough. I mean, my voice sounds the same to me. I can tell when I’m hoarse. I can tell enough to know that to keep my voice from deteriorating… Or wait a minute, are you telling me that my voice is deteriorating again and I don’t know it?

CALLER: I’m not saying that at all.

RUSH: Are you calling from tomorrow, by the way?

CALLER: No, sir.

RUSH: (laughing)

CALLER: I just enjoy hearing you, and I just didn’t know, like I said, the rest of adding another cochlear implant, if that changes the feedback when you hear yourself.

RUSH: No, it’s actually a great question. It actually saved that aspect. Now, if the implant had not worked and if it had not enabled me to comprehend speech… It happens that way with some people. All they can hear is environmental sounds. They hear people speak, but they can’t make any sense of it.

Look, here’s the problem with explaining this to people: The one thing people cannot replicate is total deafness.

They cannot, therefore, understand it.

You can pretend to be blind, you can pretend to be paralyzed from the waist down, but you cannot pretend to be deaf. There’s no way you can artificially create that. Even if you put yourself in a soundproof room, you hear something. You can hear yourself breathe or whatever. Total deafness, people can’t relate to it. That’s why the deaf always get blamed for not hearing things, ’cause people can’t relate.

They think, “Well, you can hear me! You’re just not trying hard enough.” But, in my case, if the implant had not been functional the way it is? Yeah, exactly what you say would have happened. But the implant saved it. If you work with people with disabilities… He knows what I’m talking about in this regard because it’s the only disability where the “victim,” as it were, is blamed for having the disability.

That took me a little while to figure out, too.

Anyway, thanks, John, for the call.

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