“Life Is Switched On”
At 4 years of age, I was seen as a naughty child. I wasn’t listening to teachers at school, I had a delay in my language development and suffered from constant fatigue. After a routine hearing test in school, I was diagnosed with a mild hearing loss. At 13 years old, my hearing became progressively worse (moderate loss), and I received my first pair of NHS hearing aids. I was embarrassed to admit my hearing loss as it was now more obvious. Bullying/teasing at school led me to hide my hearing aids under my hair, or not wear them at all. I relied on coping strategies (lip reading, note takers, subtitles, teacher of the deaf) and struggled through rather than excelled in school.
An MRI scan at 22 years old lead to my surgeon diagnosing me with a severe bilateral conductive hearing loss and otosclerosis. In 2014 after 10 operations and endless ear infections, I was lucky enough to become one of the first recipients of a Middle Ear Implant. My appointment at ‘The Switch On’ was a life changing day. Unfortunately I was unable to receive another implant for my other ear, as during surgery there was too much infection to attach the implant. This meant I had to wear my NHS hearing aid on my right ear. The unnatural sound, mould causing reoccurring infections and bulky size on my small ears, just wasn’t good enough for me. I wanted the same feeling I got previously at ‘The Switch On’.
I can state confidently, I got it! Since I purchased The Oticon Opn, I have heard sounds I don’t ever remember being able to hear. Examples being the biting point/revs in my car and certain frequencies of bass whilst listening to music. Whilst wearing the Oticon Opn, I have had no ear infections (now I don’t have a mould in my ear), and I’m now able to use the telephone independently. The ability to stream telephone calls and music right into my ear is fantastic. I am now able to enjoy music like never before as I don’t rely so much on the vibrations, I can hear the different frequencies. My friends have commented, noting my concentration fatigue has been reduced as I don’t have to rely so much on lip reading and worrying about feeling isolated in conversations.
All this, I have Rob at RJD Hearing Care to thank for! He allowed me to trial different hearing aids to find the right device to suit my needs. Throughout the fitting process, he was knowledgeable and was only interested in what works for my lifestyle. He listened, valued my opinion and I was never pressurised to buy at any stage of the trial period.
Having a deaf identity is important to me. I’m proud to wear my Hearing Aid and Middle Ear Implant. Rob, for giving me back my independence and increasing my confidence, I can’t thank and appreciate it enough!
Nuala Donnellan, 26
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