September 20, 1930 ~ February 19, 2019

Born in: Brooklyn, NY
Resided in: Highlands Ranch, CO

It is with profound sorrow that the family of Noel L. Cohen announces his passing following a brief illness, on Tuesday, February 19, 2019, at the age of 88 years old.

A native of New York City, and residing in New York, the Berkshires, and Colorado, Noel attended the NYU University Heights College, graduating with a degree in English. He continued his studies at the University of Utrecht, Netherlands, where he met his wife, Baukje Boersma, and obtained a doctorate of medicine.

Prior to his ENT residency at the NYU School of Medicine and Bellevue Hospital, he served as an officer of the U.S. Navy from 1957 to 1959.

Dr. Cohen held several respectable positions over the years, including: Professor of Otolaryngology; Chairman of the NYU Otolaryngology Department; Acting Dean of the New York University School of Medicine, as well as President of the New York University Hospital Center.

Noel was notably one of the first pioneers of cochlear implants and auditory brainstem implants. He is also recognized as one of the United States’ leading experts on acoustic neuroma management and cochlear implantation. His career earned him many awards. He was also an invited lecturer worldwide.

Dr. Cohen was inducted into the American Neurology Society in 1968 as a Fellow member, making him one of the oldest and most well-respected members of the ANS. Dr. Cohen also started the NYU Langone Cochlear Implant Center with Dr. Susan Waltzman in 1983. Today, the NYU Cochlear Implant Center is one of the largest clinical and research teams in the world.
He is predeceased by his wife Baukje and sister Ann Kenvin. He is survived by his son, Mark Cohen (Denver, Colorado), daughter-in-law, Sheila (Donahue) Cohen, grandchildren, Victoria and Chris Cohen, niece, Kathy Bergstein (Palm Beach Gardens, Florida), and nephew, Mitch Kenvin (Plano, Texas).

Noel frequently enjoyed: tennis, sailing, skiing, cycling, reading, wood working, and world travel. His two greatest loves were his family and his work.

Memorial donations in memory of Noel can be made to the Cochlear Implant Center via check to: Megan Trenery, NYU Office of Development, One Park Avenue, Floor 5, New York, NY, 10016. Donors should indicate “Cochlear Implant Center” on the memo section of the check to ensure that the gift is correctly allocated. Donations may also be made online, using the following link: Donors should select the “My gift is in honor or memory of someone” option to indicate the donation is in honor of Dr. Cohen.

Memories Timeline


  1. Dr. Cohen immeasurably changed my daughters’ lives for the better, giving them the gift of hearing. He was a kind, caring, gentle pioneer. We will never forget him.

  2. Uncle Mark, Auntie Sheila, Kaitlyn,and Christopher I’m very sorry for your loss. My thoughts and love to y’all through this time and throughout. Cohen rest in peace with Mrs. Cohen.

  3. I am so sorry for your loss.
    It is with fondness and gratitude, that I remember Noel’s guidance and friendship during my residency at NYU-Bellevue from 1965-70, and his
    benevolent interest in my carrer in academic otolaryngology as the years went on. I will always remember him with warmth and respect.
    Thornton, CO

  4. Noel Cohen, MD was one of the pioneers in cochlear implants and auditory brainstem implants. Noel was a personal friend and a valued colleague. His testimony regarding cochlear implant surgery and clinical efficacy of the Nucleus implant to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Review Panel was a key element in the swift approval of the first multichannel cochlear implant in 1985. Noel not only participated in the inaugural clinical trial but also in every subsequent trial including the implantation of children as young as one year of age. Noel was a valuable member of Cochlear Corporation’s (now Cochlear Americas) Medical Advisory Board making important contributions to surgical techniques and device design. He shared his expertise by training implant surgeons worldwide. Noel leaves a legacy of surgeons, audiologists and business colleagues whose lives were improved by knowing and working with him in addition to the many hundreds of patients whom he helped regain their hearing with his surgical skill and implant technology. Noel will be missed.


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