Monday, 21 September 2009

A sound investment ...BAHA

I made a decision a few months ago about a BAHA . For those of you who don’t know what it is - a bone anchored hearing aid. The surgery is tomorrow 8am.

I have had moderate to severe hearing loss in my left ear for about 20 years. I am not sure exactly why. A hearing aid doesn't , well didn't, help much.

The hearing in my right ear is not as bad but still a moderate loss and with a hearing aid I get by. I have had a lot of surgery on this 'ear' and there isn't much more they can do. A reconstruction could be risky , quite dangerous and involved . Though still unsuccessful.

I also get lots of ear infections and that is my main reason for getting a BAHA . Wearing an in the ear aid means the infections don't go away ... it is always warm and moist . A breeding ground for infection. There is a risk of meningitis or worst that close to the brain I was told.

I am also getting the BAHA to improve my 'life'.

I just don't hear well , even with a new hearing aid one seemingly 'good' ear, it does not provide adequate hearing.

Trying to find a misplaced mobile phone when it rings is impossible. The sound comes from every direction!

Trying to locate my mischievous monkeys at the best of times, least of all when accidents happen and/or high pitched screams emit ...from every direction.It's is so scary.

In a crowded room voices are blurred and words become indecipherable. Everything is indistinct and it's annoying.

I can’t hear the wait staff nor the people I am having dinner with when we go out. I can hear reasonable well at home but I still stuff up and miss things. I mishear things.It causes tension.

The TV and radio up loud annoys everyone else, and me, when they always turn it down or I am screaming over the top of the din "to be quiet", so I can hear my show.

I imagine my family and friends are tired of me saying, “ What? I can’t hear you.”
"Please talk louder "
" Pardon "
" What did you say ...repeat it again"
"I missed that ...what was the punch line" ... I didn't get the joke. I don't laugh when I should be.

I am tired of people (shop assistants) looking at me as if I am stupid when I ask them to repat something simple because they mumble especially... "cash out ?"

I am tired of saying, “What? I can’t hear you.”
I am tired of saying stupid things when I don't hear the right words's not only embarassing it is socially isolating.
I am tired of people saying I talk too loud ... Really ! I can't help it.
I hate people saying don't worry ...or I'll tell you later .

So, finally, I am having a surgery called BAHA. Bone anchored hearing aid.
Yes, it sounds daunting , scary even , but it really isn’t dangerous (that's my mantra isn't dangerous).
Maybe my family were certain I had a hole in my head or had a screw loose before, but with this procedure I really will have one...though I hope it isn't loose!

Stage 1. A hole will be drilled into the bone area behind my right ear (one with the best hearing) for placement of a titanium implant (screw abutment) , which in time fuses with the bone and transmits sound vibrations within the skull and inner ear. Skin/flesh and hair follicles will be cut away.

Later, this screw abutment will stimulate the nerve fibers of the inner ear and ultimately allow a sensation of hearing from my right ear.

Recovery from stage 1 takes about three months. The wound must be kept scrupulously clean as danger of infection is great. Still I want the procedure ...I think!

Stage 2 Three months after surgery when the surgeon is sure the implant has fused to the bone, the next step will be fitting the sound processor. I will be eagerly counting the days to Christmas BAHA day.

This will make the whole procedure worthwhile. A small , thin box about the size of a postage stamp attaches to the implant (the 'screw'). As you would expect from what the name says, the processor processes the sound to my ear. Nature should take care of the rest.

The processor will sit slightly under my hair and should be barely noticeable. Not that I care about this !

I know my brief description is not as technical as the process really will be, but maybe it gives you an idea what it is about. I have confidence in my DR and I am looking forward to the procedure though I am admittedly very nervous.

The surgery and the BAHA is ridiculously expensive a sound investment and even with private health insurance the Surgeon and Anaesthetist are going to have a good Christmas I'll be out of pocket a few thousand dollars.

I am also not sure how much of my hair they will shave off ... though having a bit of a skinhead for a few weeks should be worth it.*sigh*

It will be the questions (I won't hear ...initially because I still have to wait 3 months for the processor ) and explaining it dozens of times over until it heals that bothers me a bit. I will still wear my normal hearing aid till I get the BAHA processor.

I will hopefully educate a few people in the process.

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tiff(threeringcircus) said...

Will be thinking of you tomorrow, my friend. Hope your healing time is swift and not too painful and that the BAHA improves everything for you. I will be reading with anticipation over the next few months.

Leigh said...

Thanks for explaining, it is amazing what they can do. I really hope it delivers the results for you.

Will be thinking of you tomorrow. Fingers and toes crossed that everything goes smoothly!

Laura said...

Good luck! Will be thinking of you :)

Anonymous said...

you are doing the right will be GREAT!
will be thinking of you tomorrow and thereafter as you recover.
I am happy to knit a little hat :)

lots of hugs

•´.¸¸.•¨¯`♥.Trish.♥´¯¨•.¸¸.´• said...

@Tiff - thanks the healing time and pain doesn't scare me so much as the anticipation and waiting to see the improvement and benefits.

@Leigh -thank you I hope it delivers too.

@Laura - I appreciate your kind thoughts.

@Blossom - I'll let you know.Thank you. Funnily enough, I actually have to take a hat tomorrow so the Dr can measure where best to place the abutment screw. So I can still wear a hat.

Natalie said...

Good luck Trish.xx♥

Sarah Lulu said...

I love daring people.

Sending healing prayers for after ... xx

Marilyn said...

I will be praying that it all goes well tomorrow and over the next few months, and that you get fantastic results!

Mary said...

Trish, it will be great. I remember you talking about this before. In the grand scheme of things, the wait (and dare I say, even the $$) will seem unimportant compared to the benefits.
Will be praying hard for you for tomorrow. I think that the anticipation of surgery is as hard as anything. Rest rest rest tomorrow, as much as you need to, after the surgery.

•´.¸¸.•¨¯`♥.Trish.♥´¯¨•.¸¸.´• said...

@Natalie - thank you , accpeting all the good luck I can get xo Trish.

@Sarah Lulu - I'll appreciate healing prayers very much xo Trish

@Marilyn - thank you too for your prayers it means a lot to me xo Trish.

@Mary- yes the anticipation of it all it what is making me so nervous.Thank you too for praying for me. 'Faith' and prayer is very important to me xo Trish

Christie Burnett said...

Best wishes, I am sure that this is going to have amazing results for all of you.

Thinking of you tomorrow,

Secret Mom Thoughts said...

Good luck. I'll be thinking of you.

ree said...

Yay you! For taking control and moving forward.

Alison said...

Thinking of you, Trish.

superrelish said...

Thinking of you and sending happy healing thoughts your way.

Cathy said...

best of luck with the surgery! i recently had a very blocked ear and specialist found this cyst-like growth that had the potential to be very dangerous! he removed it but i have to go back and find out the full consequences after I have the baby (which should be any day now)!

Veronica said...

Everything would be all over and done with now. I hope it went well and that recovery isn't too painful. Looking forward to hearing (reading?) how things improves at Xmas time!

FET Accompli said...

Congrats on taking the plunge and going for the BAHA!

Jeanette said...

Hope it went well, and that it's going to make a difference

Jacksmom said...

Very cute picture! I love that age. Thanks for your comment on my blog. Best of luck with the rest of your BAHA surgery!

Michelle said...

I hope it all went well for you Trish. It is a very courageous thing to do and I hope your hearing improves come Christmas.
Thanks for a little information about a BAHA - something I had never heard of. :)

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