Following Shay’s hearing journey: from Softband to implant at age 11

Michelle and her daughter Shalynn, 11

Michelle and her daughter Shay, who wears a Softband.

By Michelle Robinson

When my daughter Shay was around one year old, I noticed that she was not reacting to loud noises like other children, so I decided to take her to have her hearing checked. Her family and I found out that she had moderate hearing loss in her right ear and that she had had it since birth. Although doctors did a hearing test when Shay was a newborn, we were not informed at the time that she failed it.

A short time after learning of Shay’s hearing loss, we made an appointment with our local ear, nose and throat specialist. The specialist confirmed that she had moderate hearing loss and nerve damage to her right ear. She needed a hearing aid. Shay received her first among many hearing aids at the age of two. In the years that followed, she has had several hearing exams, but due to her young age we were uncertain about what she was truly hearing.

When Shay was nine and a half I took her in for a routine hearing check, where we found out that her hearing loss was much more severe than we had thought. We learned she couldn’t hear voices and typical speech patterns. It turns out a normal hearing aid was not working for her at all.

My heart sank with this news. Shay not being able to hear out of her right ear was a huge concern: she was struggling in school because she couldn’t hear the teacher; it was difficult for her to ride her bike or play outside because she couldn’t hear when a car was coming up behind her.

The doctor explained to us the process of bone conduction, and he said he believed Shay would be a perfect candidate for the Baha System. We made an appointment right away with the Michigan Ear Institute. Doctors there confirmed that she has severe mixed hearing loss (a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss) in her right ear, and that a normal hearing aid would not work for her. We discussed the Baha System and decided that it would be our best option.

After doing some investigating I learned about the Baha Softband, normally used for very young children. Shay has had the Softband for a little over a year now. It was like night and day: finally, she could hear! I’ve included a video of her hearing with the Softband for the first time with this blog. After a little more than a year and after seeing the difference it has made in her life, we knew it was time to replace the Softband. This December at the age of 11, Shay will have implant surgery to start her new life with the Baha Connect System. She is so excited to keep hearing better!

Michelle Robinson lives in Cheboygan, Michigan, U.S., and is the mother of 11-year-old Baha recipient Shalynn Robinson.

Happy Halloween from the Baha family!

A jack-o-lantern carved with a face shaped out of the Baha 5, Baha 5 Power and Baha 5 SuperPower.

Happy Halloween from the Baha family!

 

Download these Cochlear pumpkin carving stencils here, and check out 5 tips to enjoy Halloween from The Wire, a blog for Cochlear recipients in the Americas.

Happy Halloween!

Final Countdown: 10 Days to Go

… until we reveal the latest innovation from Cochlear! It’s expected to become a very popular choice for people who need a non-implantable bone conduction solution or those interested in trialling bone conduction before surgery. Why? It’s comfortable, sleek and you can experience all the benefits of bone conduction hearing.

The product has been designed and developed by the Cochlear team in Sweden, who share a few words about the latest bone conduction solution.

Left to right: Linnea Agostino, Gunilla Landin, Jenny Andersson, Henrik Frylund, Stefan Magnander, Fredrik Boivie

The “Aha” Moment

“We had an “Aha” moment when we realised we should take the learnings from projects like Baha Attract and Baha Softband, and combine them into a new, fully customisable and discreet product”, says Henrik Fyrlund, Senior Project Engineer.

Simple, yet well thought-out

“What we were passionate about was finding the right design that was going to make the product perfect from an engineering perspective – the finesse of the small details! What we have today is a simple, yet well thought-out product, that can easily adapt to suit different individuals”, says Fredrik Boivie, Project Leader.

That’s when we understood how big the interest was

“In May this year we attended the Osseo 2017 Congress – the most prestigious event for osseointegrated hearing solutions – where we publicly presented our innovation for the first time. When people started storming in to our presentation booth, we understood how big the interest was. Around 90% of the participants tested the product at the congress”, reveals Jenny Andersson, Clinical Research Audiologist.

Interested to find out more about what’s coming soon? Stay tuned for updates!

Milan from Hungary loves football and his Baha 5 Sound Processor

baha-5-user-milan-juventus

Baha 5 user and football enthusiast Milan Szente shows off his Baha 5 shirt at a recent launch event in Budapest, Hungary.

Milan was born with conductive hearing loss on both ears and has been wearing a Baha solution since he was little. Recently he upgraded from the BP100 to the Baha 5 System, and shared his experiences at the event. It was his very first time talking in front of a big audience!baha-5-small-smart

“I like the new drop-like shape of the Baha 5 Sound Processor, it is very elegant. My friends and family sometimes forget that I wear one, because it is so small! The new technology and the quality of sound are simply great. The accessories for it are very useful and make my life easier.”

Milan revealed that he uses all the Cochlear wireless accessories:

“Currently my favorite is the TV Streamer. I always keep the Remote Control around because it is very important for me. I use the TV Streamer daily, the Mini Mic approximately once a week at school, and the Phone Clip from time to time. When I start University I will probably use the Mini Mic more often, and if I get a job in the future I will use the Phone Clip more frequently – probably while driving.”

Milan enjoys both to play and listen to music. This summer he participated for the second time at the Beats of Cochlea Festival in Poland, an international music festival for hearing impaired people from around the world. He performed on the piece “The beginning” on the e-guitar, his own composition. Something he wouldn’t have been able to do without his Baha solution.

beats_of_cochlea_milan

But what Milan loves most is football – namely Italian team Juventus. He was actually inspired by the Cochlear representative in Central Europe, Antonio Sportelli.

“I am a Juventus fan because I have been inspired by Antonio, since I have met him. Antonio gave me a new nickname, because my name was ‘Milan’ and his favorite club is Juve, so he started calling me ‘Juve’. I am very proud of it. I love the football club because it is very cool and they play very good football. I am also a big fan of my hometown’s club ‘Videoton’. I usually go to matches with my father and friends.”

And his biggest dreams in life?

“I would like to work for Cochlear one day as they “gave me back hearing”, so I can hear now and always! Once in my life I would really like to watch a Juventus match live. I do find the Baha sound processors very interesting, so I would like to visit the Cochlear building in Sweden where they’re made. I would like to become as good in German and Swedish as I am in English (I have a level C1 language certification in English). There’s really no limits to what I can do.”

Read more: The Baha 5 Sound Processor is a Red Dot award winner

 

In the news: The Baha 5 Power proves to be lifesaver for Scottish couple

baha-power-hearing-aid

Charles Carmichael’s new hearing technology proved to be a lifesaver within weeks of being fitted.

When his diabetic wife, Eileen, collapsed at their home this summer, he was able to talk to the emergency dispatcher so they could identify if she was having another stroke.

“Her breathing was so faint, but I was able to hear her voice through my Baha [5 Power Sound Processor] and answer the responder’s questions,” said Charles who suffers from Chronic Suppurative Otitis Media (CSOM)

Struggling with hearing loss all his life, Charles was first implanted with a Baha solution on his left side in 2012. Three years later, he had his right ear fitted as well and his problems with discharging ears stopped. In June 2016 he upgraded to the Baha 5 Power and says the new technology is amazing.

“My original Baha sound processors were fantastic, but I still struggled in big groups, but with these new ones I can hear questions from the back of a room and have conversations with background music on – it’s no problem.”

Charles is his wife’s main carer and the new Baha technology now allows him to hear her clearly even when in another room.

Eileen said: “If anything happens and I need to raise the alarm, he can immediately hear me – I feel safer.”

baha-power-charles

Read the full article

Quick guide: How to attach and remove your child’s Baha sound processor

If your child has a Baha System, there are some things you need to know – and also eventually train other caregivers, such as teachers, grandparents or preschool personnel. Here’s a guide on how to correctly take their sound processors on and off.

How to snap the Baha sound processor on and offhow-to-put-the-baha-on

Does your child use the Baha Connect System? The Baha sound processor is designed to “snap” onto the abutment. Attach the sound processor at a slight angle and tilt it into place, taking care to keep any hair out of the way. The tilt technique reduces pressure on the abutment and prevents discomfort.

To remove the sound processor, gently tilt it until it snaps off. Never pull the sound processor straight out as doing so may damage it.

If the snap coupling should break, send the Baha sound processor for repair.

How to attach and remove the magnet

how-to-attach-baha-attract-magnetIf your child has the Baha Attract System, there is an external magnet with a sound processor attached which is simply placed on the head, over the internal magnet. You do, however, need to attach the Baha sound processor correctly to the magnet.

  1. Holding the magnet flat in your hand, tilt the sound processor with the buttons positioned upwards and gently snap it into place
  2. Attach the Baha Safety Line to the sound processor
  3. Place the magnet and sound processor over the implant behind your child’s ear, with the arrow on the magnet pointing upwards

Tip: The less hair underneath the magnet, the more firm the device stays on.

When taking the device off, grasp the sound processor with the magnet still attached, and gently pull it away from the head. Place one finger under the sound processor and gently tilt until it releases.

 

How to fit the Baha Softband

If your child is wearing a Baha Softband, you need to know how to fit it correctly. Children tend to push the band up on top of their head, like a hairband, but the best results are achieved when wearing the band on the forehead and the sound processor as close to the ear as possible.

baha-softband-instructionsThe Baha Softband is fitted with one or two snap connectors and a safety release (C), which are designed to open if the softband should catch on an object. Never use the safety release to open or close the softband.

The bilateral version has two sliders: one for adjusting the total length and one for adjusting the distance between the snap connectors.

  1.  First, adjust the length of the softband (B)
  2. Attach the sound processor to the snap connector (A)
  3. Place the Baha Softband on the head and adjust it to fit comfortably. A rule of thumb is that you should be able to insert one finger underneath the band.
  4. Turn the volume on the sound processor up slowly

Baha-Softband-tips-childrenAll done! Off you go!

Read also: Six Softband tips

How to use the Baha Safety Line

Sixten-Baha-Attract-children

Kids love to play, run and be active, and the Baha sound processor shouldn’t be a hindrance. On the contrary, it’s a natural part of your child’s life, helping them to hear, learn and communicate.

baha-safety-line

The Baha Safety Line is an indispensable accessory for active children! While a number of studies of the Baha Attract System show that the SP Magnet has extremely good retention – as it is designed to firmly remain on when running, going up and down stairs or during exercise routines – we recommend always using a safety line for extra security. The little tool both prevents the sound processor from hitting the ground should it come loose, and helps children to easily put it back on themselves.

Insert the line into the attachment point and fasten it to your clothing as shown below.


Read also: Five-year old Sixten uses Baha Attract with a safety line