cochlear implant proposal kerry hayward


Man proposes to partner when he turns on cochlear implant for the first time

After a tough recovery, the men are ready to spend the rest of their lives together.


Alex Dalbey


Posted on Oct 3, 2018   Updated on May 21, 2021, 5:03 am CDT

A video of a man proposing to his partner moments after he turned on his cochlear implant is melting the internet’s heart.

2018 has been a trying year for a lot of people, and Kerry, 37, and Hayward, 27, are no exception. What started as a fun trip to see family in San Francisco earlier this year ended as a nightmare when Hayward contracted bacterial meningitis.

Bacterial meningitis causes inflammation of the brain and spinal cord and can be fatal, even if it’s detected quickly. When Hayward started having headaches and light sensitivity the couple initially thought nothing of it but went to the hospital when his symptoms got worse. He temporarily lost his sight and all movement from the hips down as a result of the infection. While those symptoms eventually lifted, the infection also caused permanent hearing loss, leaving Hayward deaf.

For a time during his recovery, he was both deaf and blind, which Hayward described to BuzzFeed News as “being in jail” in his own head. Still, Kerry was determined to be there for his partner and began learning American Sign Language. “He would place the ‘I love you’ sign on my leg or on my back, and that’s when I knew I could go to sleep,” Hayward recalled.

Over the course of the three-week stay in the hospital, Hayward slowly regained movement and sight. However, it wasn’t until he recently got a cochlear implant that he was able to hear again. Kerry knew this is when he wanted to propose to his partner. “I wanted the first thing that I said to him to be asking for his hand,” said Kerry.

“I’m hearing all these click sounds, I’m hearing my brother speak, and I can hear Kerry,” said Hayward. “And the first thing that comes out of his mouth — it’s this big spiel about what we’ve been through and he’s down on one knee.”

The couple says they intend to continue learning ASL and are planning their wedding for Mardi Gras 2019.

H/T BuzzFeed News

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*First Published: Oct 3, 2018, 11:09 am CDT