"At parties instead of hiding away I now talk to people and for the first time I have wanted to engage in political debates. My Baha devices have connected me to the hearing world."
Melanie had always styled her hair to cover her ears: She didn’t want people to see the hearing aids that she had worn since the age of five. Also, she wanted to hide her regular ear infections that gave off a smelly discharge.
But then, aged 46, Melanie’s life began to change. She was fitted with the first of two Baha bone conduction hearing implants from Cochlear. The devices have improved her hearing and reduced the recurrence of infections caused by a condition called Chronic Suppurative Otitis Media (CSOM) - a chronic inflammation of the middle ear and mastoid cavity - referred to as runny ears.
Such has been the improvement that at the age of 50 she had her ears pierced and now shows them off with her hair behind her ears or up off her face.
Melanie had a Cochlear™ Baha® 4 fitted in her left ear in March 2011 and her right ear in July 2013. Previously wearing hearing aids had compounded her problem of infections because they prevented her ears from drying out. Also, Melanie says sound had been muffled, despite her two strong hearing aids and a personal induction loop.
Now, aged 51 and living in Chesterfield, the benefits of being able to hear better and not having the continual worry of infections, has meant that her life has been transformed. “My life has changed dramatically since I had the second Baha fitted. My hearing is so good, my speech has improved tremendously, ear infections are rare nowadays, I feel more balanced and I have gained heaps in confidence,” she says.
“At parties instead of hiding away I now talk to people and for the first time I have wanted to engage in political debates. My Baha devices have connected me to the hearing world,” she says.
Her experience has also inspired her to write a children’s book about a deaf girl fitted with the technology, before Melanie embarks on a new career, perhaps as an audiology assistant.
In many ways, says Melanie, a former radiographer, she wishes that she had been fitted with Baha technology during her formative years, when her ears were almost constantly discharging. “My confidence and self esteem were low when I was a teenager. My hearing problem and ear infections made me feel isolated and made social skills and making new friends difficult,” she says.
For Melanie was constantly having to deal with infections - up to one a month before having bilateral mastoidectomies in the late 1980s, which created easier to clean large cavities - which led to her enquiring about a Baha.
Even after the mastoidectomies Melanie continued to suffer from ear infections, albeit less frequently - around one every six months and definitely after having a cold. “My ears would also feel quite sweaty with the hearing aids,” she explains. “And my boyfriend at the time did comment that they were smelly sometimes and this made me want a Baha fitted.”
Since benefiting from the Baha technology, Melanie started to learn Gaelic. She had singing lessons in 2005 after the first Baha, which fuelled a passion to take part in open mic events. And she says that she loves listening to the radio when driving to visit friends.
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.