The members of BIHIMA are committed to understanding the experiences of those with hearing loss allowing that feedback to shape the technology they pioneer. BIHIMA as a representative body seeks to raise consumer awareness and influence policy makers.

 The second in our series of real stories of hearing loss, we tell the story of 68-year-old Sue for whom finding the right hearing technology meant she could reignite a lifelong passion for classical music.

“I have been stone deaf in my right ear from the age of nine when I developed mumps. Despite several operations, I have no hearing in that ear.  I also suffer from low tone deafness in my left ear, which is a familial disability.”

Sue’s experience with hearing aids, which she has worn “on and off” for most of her life, was that they seemed to make everything too loud: “they made everything louder not just the tones I need help with.  I have pretty good high tone hearing in my left ear and the world just sounded much too loud. I am also passionate about classical music and I found that most hearing aids resonate with live concerts and so I never wore them and missed all the solo low notes.”

But then, when she took a friend to an appointment at a hearing practice where she met an audiologist who offered to help. “I told him I just did not bother with hearing aids.  He persuaded me to come in and have a test saying that any hearing aid I tried and liked would be on trial for a month before I paid for it.”

“And I have not looked back! It has transformed my life and the lives of my long suffering friends and family (deafness is often much more troublesome to those you‘re trying to communicate with). I can now hear my husband and friends with no effort on their part and I am able to listen to all the music I want to. When I heard the opening bars of Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony, played by cellos which I had never heard before, I just cried.”

Sue’s audiologist Martin Smith, who was Highly Commended by Audiologist of the Year for his dedication to hearing loss suffers, is now working on a solution which will enable her right ear to hear as well as her left ear. “We tried a cross-over system but this takes up a complete programme on my hearing aid so that I cannot then hear as well in my left. So now we are awaiting a hearing aid that will give me what I need.”

We can’t wait to hear how much more moving Schubert’s symphony is then!

This case study is based on Sue’s nomination of her audiologist, Martin Smith, for the Audiologist of the Year 2017 competition. The Audiologist of the Year is a highly acclaimed award within the hearing industry, celebrating the exceptional work of hearing care professionals across Europe. The competition asks for patients to nominate their audiologist for going above and beyond in providing hearing care services. For more information please visit www.audiologistoftheyear.eu.