At the Cochlear Celebration in San Diego 2013, we had the pleasure of meeting Camille Masino – our 100,000th Baha recipient. Camille has danced the ballet since she was three years old – without even being able to hear the music, or her teachers. It wasn’t until she received her Baha sound processors that she could bring her dancing to a whole new level.
This is Camille’s story:
20-year old Camille, USA, was born with Goldenhar Syndrome. She had fused vertebrae in the neck making it difficult to turn her head, as well as deformation of the outer and middle ear which caused her to suffer from severe hearing loss in her right ear. Her childhood was filled with constant trips in and out of surgery. To complicate matters further, Camille also had sensitive allergies and chronic sinus problems.
The allergies brought on constant ear infections in Camille’s left ear – her “good” ear – causing her to suffer from hearing loss on that side too. At age 11, Camille developed a cholesteatoma (a growth in the middle ear) in her left ear and from then on she really struggled to communicate. A doctor told her parents that Camille would most likely find it difficult to succeed in school.
At the age of 14 and after almost as many surgeries, Camille decided to get bilateral Baha sound processors.
“It was the best decision she ever made!” says Camille’s mother Hilary Masino. “Hearing with the Baha sound processors has truly changed her life. Above all, it has allowed Camille to continue dancing ballet.”
Dancing is Camille’s life. She started dancing ballet when she was just three years old, and has danced though deafness, dizziness, pain and the inability to turn her head.
I love dancing. I dance six days a week. After every surgery I would wrap my head in a scarf and rush to get back to the studio. All my doctors thought I was crazy.
Without being able to hear, Camille learned how to dance by lip reading her teacher’s instructions and by feeling the beat of the music. When she got her Baha sound processors, Camille could hear the music for the first time – and her teacher. When Camille heard her teacher giving her praise it was a revelation. She realised that she had been doing it for years, saying “Good” or “Well done!” – only Camille had never heard it before!
In her senior year of high school Camille danced the solo role of the Snow Queen in the Nutcracker; “She was beautiful,” says Hilary.
Proving her doctor wrong, Camille graduated from high school with a 3.9 GPA and with a career path award in Medical Microbiology and Biotechnology. She was accepted to college at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.
“Today I’m grateful for my trials,” concludes Camille. “They are my biggest blessings. They have made me into who I am today.”