Active mum Brenda is the only person who knows about her hearing aids
Brenda was an incredibly active and outgoing mum and wife. In 2012, while at work, Brenda suffered a head injury that knocked her unconscious. When she came round, her life was changed forever. “The tinnitus is the first thing I noticed when I came round” said Brenda. “It was this incredibly loud ringing in my ears, and it hasn’t left me since.”
Because of the nature of her work, Brenda chose to ignore her condition at first. Instead, she soldiered on and tried her best not to let anyone know about her deteriorating hearing.
“I felt very down. I wasn’t functioning at work because I couldn’t hear people properly, so I messed meetings deliberately. I even avoided eye contact with people just in case they started a conversation with me.” she said.
After finally going for a consultation six months after the accident, Brenda tried traditional, over-the-ear hearing aids. Matters went from bad to worse: Brenda found she could not keep them on for more than a few minutes without having a severe allergic reaction to the plastic casings, no matter how long she persevered.
“I tried two different plastic moulds, but before I even left the hospital, before I even got in the car, my ears started to itch. It was unbearable,” she remembered. “I just itched and itched and itched until they bled.”
At the end of her tether, Brenda was referred by her audiologist to Bryce Hearing Services, where she was introduced to Phonak’s Lyric device.
Often referred to as ‘the contact lens for the ear’, the Lyric is fitted deep inside the ear canal and is worn comfortably 24 hours a day, for months at a time*. As a result, it is entirely invisible, and can be worn while showering**, exercising and sleeping. The device is just 12mm long and sits 4mm away from the eardrum, using the properties of the ear’s anatomy to channel sound to the eardrum in a natural way.
The deep placement of the device in the ear canal also has other advantages, such as improved ability to tell where sounds are coming from, reduced feedback, reduction of wind noises, and the ability to use ear-level devices such as a telephone, headphones or stethoscope.
“When I got fitted with the Lyric, because of my bad experience with other hearing aids, I was almost waiting for something bad to happen.” said Brenda. “I kept on waiting for the bad side of Lyric. And it just never happened! I thought ‘this cannot be for real!'”
Another concern for Brenda was being perceived differently by her loved ones. Hearing loss is still stigmatised, and all to easily associated with old age and falling out of touch.
“There is a big stigma around hearing loss,” said Brenda. “The worse thought was that my family and friends and colleagues were going to look at me differently. I was not going to be the person who they knew.”
“I used to scuba dive and skydive, and these days I motorbike quite a lot. I’ve always been very active and that’s how my boys and husband know me. I have always been very close to my boys, and I was scared that would change.”
Far from becoming a different person and unrecognisable to her loved ones, Brenda is now enjoying life just as much as before her accident.
But there is a twist in Brenda’s tale: she still has not told anyone she wears Lyric. Not even her husband.
She said: “I want this to be an opportunity to tell my friends, colleagues and family, ‘look, I am proud to tell you now that I have been wearing hearing aids for the past eighteen months and you’ve never known about it.'”
“I feel I can really say I owe my life to Lyric. I’ve been in the depths of depression, and I’m not going back!”
*Individual patient needs may very. Lyric is not appropriate for all patients. See Jayne at Bryce Hearing Services to determine if Lyric is right for you.
** Lyric is water resistant, not waterproof, and should not be completely submerged underwater.