Wendy Rae just this week had her BONEBRIDGE activation, after having decades of hearing loss and ear-related complications. Here’s her story.
How can anyone fully prepare for what to expect on Activation Day?
As I was driving to the hospital for the appointment I was full of so many different emotions. I was excited, nervous and a bit skeptical. Was this even going to work and, if it did, was I going to like it? Let me tell you a bit about my story.
At a young age my parents realized I was having trouble hearing out of my right ear, so they went to get it checked with an ENT doctor in my hometown. That visit led to other visits. I had tubes placed in my ear and when the tubes came out it left a hole in my eardrum. I then had a surgery to have the eardrum repaired. That experience left me fearing doctors and anything to do with my ear.
I realized in high school that I would have trouble hearing in some situations, but my fear kept me from going to get it checked. I then went on to college and became a dental assistant. I knew I was in trouble when I couldn’t hear the dentist who was sitting a foot away. Still I left it. It wasn’t until I didn’t hear my daughter crying for me at night that I decided to go back to the doctor.
That led to two more painful ear surgeries and a diagnosis of cholesteatoma. This is a disease that basically eats away and destroys the inside of the ear. My doctor could not get this under control and so he sent me to a specialist.
This doctor confirmed the diagnosis and I began treatment with him. He also tried twice surgically to remove the cholesteatoma but it kept coming back. I then started going to see him every 2 months to have my ear cleaned out. This was a painful time and left me very anxious. Seeing no end in sight, having a hearing loss, and the possibility of this being a lifelong problem, my doctor suggested I undergo a major surgery where they would seal off my ear with my scalp. This would leave no room for the infection to grow. I agreed and I am so glad I did. Living infection-free was an amazing feeling. The downside was I had lost more hearing.
This is when I was introduced to the Bonebridge. I was implanted and excited for the future.
Hearing with BONEBRIDGE
Activation day was better than I could ever have expected. I sat down in the audiologist’s office eagerly anticipating the beginning of the next part of my journey. She placed the processor on my head and I was so surprised at how light it was. She had it on mute and wanted to make sure I was ready. With a nod of my head and a push of a button I went from not hearing on the right side to hearing.
It was an overwhelming, but joyous occasion.
I looked at the audiologist and asked if it was normal to hear a loud hum. She laughed and said that it was the fan in the room. I then turned to the right to hear people talking in the hallway behind a closed door. It was at that moment I realized there was a lot I just wasn’t hearing without even knowing it.
I am excited to start this journey and to experience a new world with fresh eyes and fresh “ears”. I will forever be grateful for the journey I was on because it taught me never to take things for granted, especially the gift of hearing. I am grateful for technology and the freedom it can give to those who need it most.
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