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Client Story

Brenda

The ticking of the clock on the wall. The beeps from the microwave when the food is ready. The engine of an oncoming car. For Brenda, hearing these sounds again stirred a wave of emotions. She hadn’t realized how much she was missing.

About five years ago, Brenda started having difficulty in following conversations with friends and family. Many of the everyday sounds around the home had faded too, so she went to have her hearing checked. She was shocked to learn that she was virtually deaf in one ear.

Brenda got herself a set of hearing aids, and was referred to the MAB-Mackay for adapted devices that could help around the home. There, she was provided a bed shaker that’s connected to the alarm clock and smoke alarm, and a special phone with lights and buzzers that go off when a call is coming in. This gave her husband the peace of mind that she would be safe when he was away from home.

As the years passed, Brenda slowly began to lose hearing in her other ear. She tried stronger hearing aids, but found them unhelpful. She even tried a voice-to-text app on her smartphone so she could read what others were saying. But this created a new set of problems, as she wasn’t making eye contact and was worried she’d be perceived as being rude.

Brenda found there was less motivation to go out, as she was unable to understand what was going on around her. She stopped watching television or listening to the radio. No longer able to maintain in-depth conversations with her husband, their talk was soon limited to quick fact-based exchanges, such as “are you hungry” or “how did you sleep.”

Imagine how the loss of enjoyment from participating in conversations with friends and family, the muted sounds of birds and music, and the loss of situational awareness all weighed heavy on Brenda. Despite her usual positive approach to challenges in life, she felt increasingly isolated and frustrated.

That’s when fate called.

It’s night and day. I’m able to participate fully in conversations again with my husband.

The MAB-Mackay phoned Brenda to see how she was doing with the equipment they’d provided her. She made an appointment with an audiologist for a few weeks later. After a full hearing exam, they broached the subject of cochlear implants – a small electronic device that is surgically implanted just behind the ear, bypassing damaged or inactive portions of the ear and directly stimulating the auditory nerve. Brenda was immediately on board.

So last fall, Brenda went to Quebec City – the only place in the province that performed the specialized surgery at the time – and received a cochlear implant in her left ear. She then participated in a ten-week intensive therapy program at the MAB-Mackay, where they worked on training her brain to understand sounds again and made technical adjustments to her implant. This was an important step for her, as she hadn’t realized how many sounds are similar in English language.

Brenda’s world was reinvigorated in ways she never imagined possible. “Mind-blowing, amazing,” she says in describing the difference. “It’s night and day. I’m able to participate fully in conversations again with my husband. I met work colleagues for a holiday party in December at a bowling alley, and they were so impressed with the difference. That’s how amazing it is. The MAB- Mackay made this possible for me, and I’m forever grateful!”

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