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RUSH: This is Bill in Schenectady, New York. Great to have you, sir. Hello.

CALLER: Hey, Rush, it’s an honor to talk to you. Listen, the reason I called is — and I know people always talk about your cochlear implant and everything. But you actually got my brother in gear to take care of his hearing problem. About eight years ago he lost his hearing, started losing it, and, you know, everybody was trying — including his doctor — to get him to get the implant, and he’s real stubborn. He didn’t want any kind of, you know, operations or anything. And then we told him that you had the implant, and, lo and behold, he was like, “If it’s good enough for Rush, it’s good enough for me.” So about five years ago he got his first implant, all thanks to you, and it’s really changed his life. No doubt.

RUSH: What was his initial objection? He just didn’t want to do surgery?

CALLER: He thought it was gonna be uncomfortable. He thought that it wasn’t gonna work properly. He just felt like it was invasive. And he’s very stubborn. He doesn’t like to try anything.

RUSH: Right.

CALLER: And he had tried like, you know, hearing aids and things. He just got no help, you know, and his hearing went from bad to worse because it was like some kind of an autoimmune-type thing.

RUSH: That’s exactly what happened to me, yeah.

CALLER: He just started really losing his hearing, and he would not try it. He just would not try it, until we told him that you had it, and he started looking it up on the Internet, and his whole thing was, “Well, if it works for Rush, he’s on the radio, I’m gonna try it.” And sure enough, it changed his life. There’s just no doubt about it.

RUSH: That is —

CALLER: In fact, he’s getting the second one now because you got your second one.

RUSH: (laughing) Is that right?

CALLER: Yeah! (laughing)

RUSH: (laughing) Let me tell you something. You tell him, I resisted doing the second one for a host of reasons, mostly based on my experience with one. I said, “The second one isn’t gonna help.” The only thing I’m interested in is speech comprehension. I don’t need to hear any more noises. I hate noises. I try to keep things as quiet as I can, because the cochlear implant creates noise, not sounds.

CALLER: Mmm-hmm.

RUSH: And you have to adapt to it. I love silence, which irritates all of my friends. I love silence. I can sit in a room with the TV off, nothing on, and I am fine. That’s when I am happiest. Of course, that bothers everybody else. Silence to most people is strange. To me, it’s bliss.

CALLER: Rush, did you ever have…? The first couple years he had some problems with ringing in his ear, tinnitus, and he flies a lot for his job. So he had a lot of problems with, like, you know, ear blockage and sinus drainage. He was getting like sinus infections and stuff.

RUSH: Well, now, I never —

CALLER: Did you have that problem?

RUSH: I had tinnitus, still do. The implant doesn’t change that. That’s a myth. I had tinnitus and didn’t know it. “Tin-nih-tus — or “tin-ih-tus,” if you want to be specific. Tinnitus, the way mine is, is the strangest thing. I didn’t know what it was. But mine is a very low-frequency hum. It’s not bells and ringing. And the effect of it, when it happens — and it’s happening right now.

I’ve got tinnitus right now. It makes everything sound like this (muffled talking), just like putting a muffle in front of everybody, and it’s just a low-frequency hum. I thought something’s wrong with the implant. It’s not. It’s tinnitus. It has nothing to do with the implant. My tinnitus was not increased, aggravated — it wasn’t changed at all — because of the implant. Tell him that they’re unrelated.

CALLER: Well, he had problems. Actually, his doctor hooked him up. He had problems for, like I said, a couple years, especially since he flies a lot, with the pressure in his ears and that sort of thing. They had him like taking decongestants and whatnot, and they kind of intermix with medications and he couldn’t really take them. So finally he was kind of half sorry that he did it, and then his doctor actually hooked him up with a horseradish pepper nasal spray, believe it or not, and the guy who wouldn’t try anything, tried that, and that worked for him, and for the past three years he’s had not tinnitus or (unintelligible) —

RUSH: There you go! Whatever works!

CALLER: — swear to God.

RUSH: Whatever works is fine and dandy. I never had any of that. I’ve always been able to hold my nose and blow through it and pop my ears when I fly.

CALLER: Yeah, yeah.

RUSH: It’s never been a problem. But you —

CALLER: It’s awesome because you definitely got him to do it and now he’s gonna do the second one, and, you know, the guy who wouldn’t try anything is willing to get the second one, you know?

RUSH: That’s fabulous.

CALLER: He’s willing to put hot pepper nasal spray up his nose, so he’s changed a lot.

RUSH: You tell him he’s done the right thing, and getting the second one is gonna be a plus. It will be… How long has it been since he had the first implant was put in? How long’s it been?

CALLER: It’s been just on five years now.

RUSH: Okay. See, I waited 14 to do my second one. And by itself, my second implant on the right side — still, by itself — is useless. It’s the most amazing thing. My right side implant is… If that’s all I had, I might not be able to do this program, that’s how bad it is. But in conjunction with the left side, magic happens. It’s inexplicable. And everybody’s different.

But you tell him the odds are very good that that second implant is gonna improve things overall. If he’s satisfied or even happy with the way things are now, it’s gonna be better. I have yet — and I looked into this. I’ve yet to find anybody who did a second implant who wishes they hadn’t. I haven’t found that person. So he’ll be happy that he did it. That’s a fabulous story. I appreciate hearing that, Bill. Thank you very much.

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