My Hearing Journey
As a child, I experienced the usual constant ear infections and glue ear and was often labelled as being “uninterested” at school which was most likely due to my hearing loss.
When I was about 10, I had a tympanoplasty operation on my right ear, unfortunately the operation was unsuccessful and a number of years later I was diagnosed with a profound hearing loss. A period of time after my operation, I had a trauma accident to my head which caused my left ear to be perforated, resulting in a moderate hearing loss.
When I was at college, I had a significant ear infection which impacted on my hearing and resulted in me having to use a hearing aid in my left ear to enable me to complete my studies.
Though this was a difficult period adjusting to life with a significant hearing loss and hearing through a hearing aid in my early 20s, it also became the springboard to where I am with my life now.
Whilst attending a lip reading class, I came across a pamphlet on “Hearing Therapy”. This was an occupation I had not heard of before and I wished it had been available to me when I was adapting to my hearing loss and life using a hearing aid.
To cut a long story short, I applied to train as a Hearing Therapist and have now been qualified for over 20 years working within the NHS. In addition to this, I am also a qualified Audiologist and current Clinical Lead; having worked in London and now Scotland for the past 14 years. In 2013 I was given the option to have a BONEBRIDGE on my right side which I accepted and continue to wear without having had any adjustment made to it.
My Life with Implants
When I’m seeing patients in my clinics, I always emphasise that adapting to any hearing aids takes time and perseverance. I needed to practise what I preach as it did take me time to adapt to the BONEBRIDGE, but I now feel more confident and relaxed when seeing my patients as I am hearing them better, this has also spilled over into my social life.
My Role as a Mentor
I feel I am in a unique position; I have the experience of being an implant user having gone through the surgical process, as an Audiologist I understand the technical and programming aspects of the implant, and as a Hearing Therapist I can answer issues from a professional and personal perspective.
I hope to use my experiences to help and support others going through this process.
My Top Tip
It takes time and perseverance and you need to have realistic expectations.