A woman who was one of the first in the North East to have a special hearing implant says her life has been transformed by the device.
Layla Osselton has suffered from significant hearing loss as she has had serious, recurrent ear infections that caused damage to her hearing.
Earlier this year the 37-year-old was one of the first patients to be given a bone anchored hearing aid (BAHA) at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital.
The discrete hearing device bypasses the middle ear and stimulates the inner ear directly through the skull in order for sounds to be heard.
Personal fitness instructor Layla, of Jesmond, Newcastle, who is married to Steve, 50, says the results of the BAHA have been astounding.
She said: “I never thought it would be possible that I could hear some of the sounds that I have. It is amazing, as I can hear things like birds in the street or the fizz of opening a bottle of sparkling water. I feel like I am fully engaged in the world now and I’m realising what a noisy place it is! It’s amazing. My hearing loss did impact upon my life as I lost confidence and I didn’t feel comfortable going out unless Steve was with me. Now I have so much more self-confidence.”
Layla had normal hearing until she was eight years old, when she began to suffer from chronic, regular ear infections. Blocked and swollen ear canals led to serious hearing loss with sound so muffled that she felt like she was permanently underwater.
Experts at Newcastle’s Freeman hospital fitted Lalya with a new generation of hearing aid called Attract, which connects the sound processor to her head using two magnets, ideal for her active lifestyle. Traditional hearing aids were not a suitable option as they were ineffective.
Ian Johnson, consultant ear, nose and throat surgeon and director of Newcastle BAHA Centre, said: “Bone conduction hearing systems allow us to help patients who cannot be treated with traditional hearing aids. By using a small implant, we simply bypass problem areas and that means we can restore hearing that’s seriously deteriorated, or give someone the joy of being able to hear for the first time.”
The BAHA technology is developing at a fast pace as new sound processors and systems become available.