There are few moments during a wedding that are more touching and heartfelt than the exchanging of vows—and for David Alianiello, it was all the more poignant because he was finally able to hear his wife’s voice.
“Right now, my hearing loss is so profound that I can’t tell the difference between a man’s voice and a woman’s voice, and so it’ll be interesting if I can tell the difference between, you know, my mom or my dad, my friends or my sister,” he told The Knot days before his wedding. “And then of course, I’m looking forward to hearing my daughter and my fiancée speak. I’m looking forward to that development.”
Though the pair didn’t plan on writing their own vows, hearing the traditional vows in each other’s voices was intended to be an exciting moment for both of them. In fact, the couple’s relationship technically started with a wedding.
Alianiello explained that he and his fiancee Courtney were both part of a wedding between mutual friends several years ago, and their relationship blossomed from there.
“One of my close friends, he was getting married, and his wife, the one that he married, she had her cousin in her wedding party, and I was in my friend’s wedding party, and that’s how we met,” he continued. “We met the day before the wedding at the rehearsal dinner, and we were talking and she mentioned that she liked Game of Thrones, and I’m like ‘Oh yeah, I like [that show],’ and then there were some similarities and we just really hit it off. At a wedding!”
“So, we went out on a date and it just clicked from there,” he noted. “Then fast-forward to now. We’re getting married and we’re using the same photographer [Anne Casey of Anne Casey Photography] that we used at our friend’s wedding. And the people who got married at that wedding are going to be part of ours, so it’s come full circle.”
The couple got engaged at a lighthouse at the end of a boardwalk in Maryland. Alianiello’s elaborate plan, which involved his daughter Skyli, almost didn’t pan out because of the rain, but luckily, the weather—and Skyli’s patience—held up.
“So we get out of the car, go up to the lighthouse, and Courtney’s looking at the lighthouse, and I give [Skyli] the ring box and she goes up the hill with a big smile on her face,” he said. “And Courtney’s completely caught off guard because I had previously said that Skyli would not be a part of the proposal and so she never thought it would happen with my daughter involved. And so she turned around and I was already on my knee and she was just very shocked and very happy. Of course she said yes.”
After grappling with hearing impairments through much of his life, Alianiello decided to take matters into his own hands and looked into the possibility of getting Cochlear implants to treat his hearing loss.
A cochlear implant is an electronic medical device that does the work of damaged parts of the inner ear (cochlea) to provide sound signals to the brain; in essence, it mimics the functions of the human ear.
“You know, I’m really looking forward to it,” he explained. “In the beginning, when they activate it, it’ll be a smaller range of frequency because they don’t want to overstimulate your brain with all these sounds, so I’m just looking forward to the sensation of it. Because right now, with my hearing aid, I’m experience just the very basic sounds to my ear, but this time, with the Cochlear, the sounds will be going directly to my brain, and so I’m looking very much forward to that: how my brain will perceive the sounds. I’ll be able to hear a lot more what’s happening at my wedding and I’m also really looking forward to wearing it while I’m running or in a swimming pool, because I can waterproof it as well.”
One primary difference between a cochlear implant and a hearing aid is that while a hearing aid helps to amplify everyday sounds, a cochlear implant actually sends sound directly to the nervous system and then onto the brain, so patients can hear high frequencies that they wouldn’t otherwise be privy to.
In a sweet video that Anianiello shared with The Knot, he speaks to his daughter Skyli about his upcoming surgery, for what she sweetly calls his “super hearing aid.”
“When they turn it on, I want you to be there when they turn it on,” he says to Skyli. “What do you want to say to me when they turn on my super hearing aid?”
“You look fantastic,” she responds with a grin.
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