Living Life with Surround Sound

Bob woke up one morning as a child and couldn’t hear from his left ear. After decades of living with single sided deafness, he became the proud recipient of a Baha® Sound Processor. And his life changed. This is his story.

It was 1954 and I was 10 years old. I woke up one morning and couldn’t hear from my left ear. Many doctors’ visits followed with the conclusion that I was deaf in one ear and nothing could be done about it. I don’t remember being particularly concerned, but I guess children view the world differently to adults.

So began my life as a person with single sided deafness (SSD). I became adept at positioning myself on my hearing side. I coped well with school and then university. There were problems of course. As a teenager I didn’t want to draw attention to this difference. I often misheard and guessed wrongly and what I said often caused great hilarity for others but severe embarrassment for me. Noisy parties and gatherings were always a problem and I often left early (or chose not go at all) because making sense of conversations was too hard. Not being able to determine where sound came from was also a problem.

I began my working life in an office but decided to move to Africa and become a secondary school teacher. I continued my career in education and became an Associate Professor at the University of Wollongong until retirement a few years ago. I always explained my deafness to students and received, without exception, their consideration and cooperation. My colleagues were often not so thoughtful.
After six decades of living with single sided deafness and trying several options to improve my hearing, none of which helped much, I became the proud recipient of a Baha® 3 Sound Processor, and it was great. To be able to carry on a conversation with someone on my deaf side was a new experience. To have surround sound was a revelation. There were a few teething problems, mainly due to my inexperience, but my audiologist and I sorted them out.

After four years or so with the Baha 3 Sound Processor, I realised I needed extra help or ‘oomph’, to use a technical term. So I was fitted with a Baha 3 Power Sound Processor. I could hear better than before with very few teething problems and the batteries lasted longer. I still had problems with noisy restaurants and similar acoustical environments though.

Then in 2016 came the Baha 5 Power Sound Processor, and after five months or so I am convinced that it is the greatest. I have never heard so well, not since becoming deaf as a child anyway. Why is this? From the outset, I will admit to being intrigued by technology and the ability of the Baha 5 Power Sound Processor and my iPhone to communicate with each other, in my view, offers real advantages. Big fingers and little buttons are no longer an issue because the iPhone acts as a remote control for all manner of functions. It will also stream music, podcasts and telephone audio, as well as act as a remote microphone too.

Can I hear any better? Most certainly! When I first received the Baha 5 Power Sound Processor, as a test, my wife and I visited the food court in the local shopping centre, at lunch time during school holidays. I was able to carry on a conversation with her standing on my deaf side. Hitherto a very difficult scenario, but this time a happy result for me. The acid test was when I tried to play the violin, and the sound processor protested loudly – well that is the general reaction to my playing. With a bit of fiddling with the settings, my Baha 5 Power Sound Processor and violin are now the best of friends.

That is a great feature of the Baha 5 Power Sound Processor – it is self-customisable for volume, treble and bass and location, so with a bit of fiddling with the Smart App it seems most situations can be adjusted to. This is a very great strength in my opinion and I have yet to meet a situation that I cannot deal with.

Another great asset that can be used to extend the Baha 5 Power Sound Processor is the Mini Microphone 2+ which adds another level of adaptability and versatility. I play the banjo and fiddle with a traditional dance band in some venues that have severe acoustical issues. I find that with the strategic placement of the Mini Microphone 2+ and adjustment of the volume of both units, I can hear the different instruments and keep up with the other players, whereas before I just heard noise.

With the Baha 3 and the Baha 3 Power Sound Processors, sound coming to my hearing ear seemed to overwhelm any input from the sound processor in noisy situations. This does not tend to occur with the Baha 5 Power Sound Processor as it seems well able to stand up for itself. Sound localisation doesn’t happen and I am used to that but if I hear a noise I know to look around, especially when crossing the road. I find I engage more readily and easily in conversations, especially in situations that have been hitherto challenging. The Baha 5 Power Sound Processor is the greatest because it addresses the hearing issues that were the most important to me. One unexpected benefit comes from the fact that the unit is less sensitive to touch and this means I can wear a hat, without it squealing.

My Baha Sound Processor has become an essential part of my life and I would hate to be without it.

– Bob


Please seek advice from your medical practitioner or health professional about treatments for hearing loss. They will be able to advise on a suitable solution for the hearing loss condition. All products should be used only as directed by your medical practitioner or health professional. Not all products are available in all countries. Please contact your local Cochlear representatives.

Cochlear, Hear now. And always and elliptical logo are either trademarks or registered trademarks of Cochlear Limited. Baha is a registered trademark of Cochlear Bone Anchored Solutions. D1179639 Cochlear © 2017



One thought on “Living Life with Surround Sound

  1. Hello Bob. What an interesting story. Seven months ago I experienced sudden sensorineural hearing loss in my left ear. i am now deaf in this ear, and so am a unilateral hearer. I have tried a CROS hearing aid, but it did not help me…Now i will look into the BAHA. Thank you for sharing your story. Best wishes. Carly

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