"With my Baha 4, I had 93% hearing success in one ear and 96% in the other. I’m hearing sounds I’ve never heard before."
It was not until I was five and had hearing tests that my deafness was diagnosed. I was given hearing aids but they were very old fashioned and uncomfortable and caused constant infections. At the age of 11 I had a mastoid in one ear (which is the outward growth of part of the temporal bone behind the ear). This left me with facial palsy. I found myself having to live life with basic hearing in one ear, helped by a hearing aid. It felt like just surviving in life and I withdrew from friends and stopped meeting people.
When I was 21 years old I had a second mastoid in my other ear leading to even less hearing. In 1995 whilst living in Southern Ireland a doctor at my local hospital mentioned a Baha. I had no idea what a Baha looked like, I didn’t know anyone with one and I didn’t have the luxury of the internet to find out more. What I did know was that anything would be an improvement on my current situation.
My first Baha operation wasn’t totally successful but when I moved back to London and became a patient again at The Royal Ear Nose and Throat Hospital in 1996, I was fitted with a Baha Compact sound processor. I walked out of hospital and I distinctly remember having to turn the sound down – what joy! A new life opened up for me, a life with improved hearing, no moulds in my ears and no more infections. I never looked back and my family and social life took on a new lease of life.
In 2002, my hospital consultant gathered a group of Baha recipients together and this was the first time I’d met anyone else with a Baha. Somehow, I left the day agreeing to be the chairperson of the new hospital Baha Support Group – something that I’ve done for the last 13 years. There are now 280 members and we meet monthly and often support each other in between meetings. It’s like having an extended family – a family who all have something in common.
In 2003, I had my second Baha fitted and it transformed my life. No longer did I have to position myself carefully in groups, I could hear people on either side of me, as well as behind me. I lost the fear of talking to people and felt really free.
I was fitted with the new Baha 4 sound processors in February 2014 and this has been yet another incredible advance for me. I had a hearing test at the hospital recently using words and without my Baha, my hearing level was nil in one ear and 3% in the other. With my Baha 4, I had 93% hearing success in one ear and 96% in the other. I’m hearing sounds I’ve never heard before.
The wireless accessories with Baha 4 are an advance too and the one I love is the Phone Clip and its Bluetooth technology for the mobile phone. I feel it’s just a ‘must have’ and it really helps, especially as the technology means I hear the ringing through the bone when someone is calling, wherever the phone is in the house. It is very clear. My teenage grandchildren think it’s very cool.
The portable clip-on Mini Microphone is good too and I use it to listen to music when I go walking or when I’m travelling to and from hospital for the Support Group meetings.
Being a Volunteer for Cochlear helps me to learn more about the advances in technology and share the news with other users, especially at support group meetings. Supporting others is so important to me, as I feel I’ve benefitted so much from advancing technology.
The information on this website is for educational purposes, and is not intended to replace medical advice. Please consult a hearing healthcare professional to diagnose or treat a hearing or health problem.