For many individuals with hearing loss, trying to pick between the myriad of treatment options can be overwhelming.
Meet Margaret, a Cochlear™ Baha® 5 System recipient who understands this dilemma firsthand.
Margaret struggled to hear for decades, switching between hearing aids but never finding the sound quality she needed to communicate with confidence.
However, her life changed when she received the Baha 5 System. Suddenly, she could hear the everyday sounds she had been missing. She also gained the confidence to try new things and give back to her community.
A Lifelong Journey
Margaret was born with hearing loss. In fact, she recalls her first memory was of an earache.
“It just never stopped,” she said.
When Margaret was in grade school, a teacher noticed she was having trouble hearing in the classroom, so the school administered a hearing test. However, Margaret said nothing ever came of it and she was forced to adapt as best as she could.
“I got good grades, but I probably studied twice as long as anyone else,” she said.
She didn’t pursue treatment until she was in her late 30’s, when she tried a hearing aid for the first time.
“I went for a walk and the wind, the leaves, just all the noise drove me crazy,” she said. “I took it off before I got home.”
She went on to try three more hearing aids, but none provided the quality of sound she needed for everyday life.
“Hearing aids were a big hassle to me,” Margaret said.
She said group activities were a constant issue because she usually left feeling upset.
“I was always mad and always irritated, kind of in a bad temper—I was stressed all the time,” she said. “I’d go to Bible study and think, ‘Oh, everybody thinks I’m stupid. I’m not on the same page.’ And sometimes I could tell, because they would look at me like, ‘What are you talking about?’”
A New, Discrete Solution
When Margaret found out she qualified for the Baha 5 System, she was excited to see whether it would be an improvement over her previous hearing aids. She was implanted in July 2017 and said she immediately began to hear sounds she had never heard before.
“I can hear the washer going, the refrigerator (when it) cuts off, the air conditioning, the clock ticking, dogs barking outside, and the rain,” she said. “I couldn’t hear the rain before.”
She also said it has made her more outgoing in social situations.
“It’s made me more aware and given me more confidence,” Margaret said.
She appreciates how light and discrete the processor is.
“With a hearing aid, my ears always itched, and it bugged me,” she said. “With this, I don’t even know it’s there.”
One of Margaret’s recent passions has been training her dog, Callie, to be a therapy dog for individuals in hospitals and assisted living facilities. She took Callie to an assisted living home Christmas party over the holidays and said the dog’s friendly presence was a big hit with the seniors.
Margaret said she wouldn’t have attended such a crowded event before she received her Baha processor.
“I wouldn’t do it, I’d be too scared,” she said.
She looks forward to undergoing training with Callie so they can join an association for therapy dogs and bring joy to those who need it.
Margaret’s advice to people considering the Baha 5 System is to go ahead and take a chance on better hearing.
“I’m just amazed at the difference between (the Baha 5 System) and a hearing aid,” she said. “I’m really happy. Really happy.”