"The Baha has made so much difference to my life, and I would now like to help other people understand more about implants and the operation. Hopefully my personal experience will help them overcome any fears they may have."
Brian, aged 80 from Hampshire suffered with hearing loss when he was six-years-old following a World War II bomb blast and has also had long term recurring discharging ears. His Baha System was fitted in 2006 and he was upgraded to a Baha® 5 SuperPower Sound Processor in September, 2016.
A self-confessed `gadget man’, Brian is loving the new Baha 5 SuperPower Sound Processor and all its wireless accessories – Mini Microphone, Phone Clip and TV Streamer. The devices use the same wireless protocol that Bluetooth and Wi-Fi devices depend on and once a sound processor is paired to a smartphone, TV, laptop, MP3 player or stereo, sound is streamed directly to the sound processor, giving better sound clarity, especially in noisy and challenging environments.
“My first Baha Intenso™ Sound Processor was fantastic as I could hear immediately, but the sound quality from this new SuperPower Sound Processor is so much better. I went on holiday to America to see my grandchildren within a week of the upgrade and my family couldn’t believe the difference in me. I could have conversations with them even in noisy restaurants.”
Having worked as a computer programmer since the 1960s, Brian finds it easy to adapt to new technology and is already using his new sound processor to listen to homemade audio-visuals on his iPad with the sound going directly to his new Baha. He is enjoying the fact he can set the volume through a small remote control rather than fiddle with the processor behind his ear – with arthritis in his hands, this was something he had struggled with in the past with the previous Baha sound processor.
He had his first Baha fitted at Frimley Park Hospital, Surrey, on his 70th birthday. Not only could he hear straightaway, but the hearing technology finally helped to dry up a lifelong problem with runny ears.
“The ear discharged used to run out of my ears. When my deafness was discovered during a hearing test in my 40s I was given hearing aids, but they made the discharge even worse so I just didn’t wear them and kept them in a drawer.”
Brian lost his hearing in 1942 at the age of six, when a bomb landed on a neighbour’s house. After the bombing raid, he didn’t tell anyone, not even his parents, that he was struggling to hear. “You just didn’t talk about hearing loss in those days. You just accepted things and got on with it, and I learnt to live with the situation.”
With less than 10% hearing in his right ear and 40% in his left, Brian could chat with people on a one to one basis if they were close, but voices became a blur of noise when in a crowd.
As an adult, he chose his jobs carefully to ensure hearing wasn’t a high priority, and built up a range of self-taught techniques that enabled him to hold senior positions at work and in the business community – even being elected to National President of the Junior Chamber of Commerce in South Africa where he lived and worked for 30 years.
In his early 60s, an exploratory operation found the bones in his middle ear had welded together and Brian was told there was nothing more that could be done. That was until a young intern at the Royal Surrey Hospital, where he was having his ears treated for the constant discharge, suggested he consider a Baha.
Ten years on, Brian’s new-found hearing has given him the confidence to speak at audiology conferences about his experiences and, as a volunteer for Cochlear, he is regularly contacted by people who are considering Baha surgery.
“Although I have achieved a lot in life, I feel I missed out on a lot too. Having benefitted so much from the Baha, I wanted to share my personal experiences to help others overcome any fears they may have.
“Interestingly, the biggest worry for women considering a Baha is `can they wash their hair’. I tell them the answer is yes, and they can also go swimming and have a bath. Men on the other hand seem to be worried about the operation itself but I reassure them and explain all the advantages which not only benefit them as individuals but also their families. Everyone benefits from you having a Baha, and you are no longer missing out on the sounds of family life.”
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.