Discovering the right solution
David’s first big wake-up call to how bad his hearing had become was when he became a band director and had difficulty understanding students when they were speaking. In a noisy environment, he found that he often had to ask students to write down what they were saying.
He soon sought advice from an ENT, as well as spoke to his wife who is a speech pathologist, and coincidentally how he first heard about bone anchored hearing systems (BAHS). An avid YouTuber, David reached out to his followers for input on BAHS and ultimately opted for the surgery.
“What had influenced my choice was a few factors. The general clarity of the solution. It’s extremely clear. Second, conventional hearing aids didn’t sound right for me. Certain frequencies didn’t sound right. I’m a musician and I wanted to hear what music sounds like and needed my hearing to be really clear.”
In November 2016, David underwent his implant surgery, in a fast, outpatient procedure. In March after he had healed completely he was able to use his Ponto Plus Power for the first time.
“My immediate reaction was ‘that’s really really loud’. I hadn’t heard things from a normal volume level my whole life. I can hear my own voice a lot more clearly now. It did take some getting used to since I wasn’t used to accepting input in that ear. After a couple days things settled in. It doesn’t feel too loud or too quiet or unnatural. Another thing I really like about the Ponto is how easy the volume button is to access and operate."
The sound of music after 25 years
After having such a hard time understanding and hearing his students, David had found a hearing solution that works in many of the noisy situations he finds himself in. He can now hear in a number of environments, from noisy to quiet, no hand-written notes required.
In one class I teach there are people practicing piano, and even with that sound in the background, I can hear what people are saying.
Listening to music has also improved. David has audio equipment in his home but it was always an issue that he couldn’t hear properly. With his Ponto, his perception of stereo has drastically improved and music doesn’t have to be played as loud anymore.
“Right before my Ponto surgery, I began to compose music again. The reason had less to do with hearing, and more to do with hope. Hope that I would be able to continue composing after my surgery.”
Advice for those considering a bone anchored hearing solution
David’s advice for those thinking about a Ponto: “Let your body heal and rest after surgery. Learn about your anatomy and how your hearing works, which will help in making the right decision for yourself. Lastly, become your own advocate. If you have someone who can be an advocate with you, have that person in your corner. For me it was my wife. Because when you can’t hear, you can lose a lot of self confidence over what you can communicate and understand about your needs.”