Meet Mandie

... when the miracle happened

Mandie Benson-King has struggled with hearing infections her entire life which has had a negative effect on her confidence, both in her professional and personal life. Mandie, now a bilateral Ponto 4 user and mother of two, describes how she feels having BAHS treatment, or what she describes herself as “when the miracle happened”, has helped her improve her quality of life. 

Mandie describes the challenges she faced in her early life as she had various grommets and adenoid operations. In 1975, she lost the hearing in her right ear due to a mastoid infection and had to transfer to a school with a hearing support team at the age of 13. Later on in life, Mandie recalls the difficulty she had in finding a job after completing her college course in Business, Travel and Tourism studies; “After college getting a job was tough every time, I mentioned my hearing loss I never got an interview”. Mandie recalls when her infections returned in her later life which lead to more operations, severely knocking her confidence; “Emotionally for me this was a sad time. I didn’t recognise the person I had become - I was no longer Mandie the happy girl. I was frustrated, angry and permanently tired from constantly concentrating to hear. My poor husband and children suffered as a result. I would have to lie down and rest after work. Socialising became impossible for me.”

Mandie was then referred by her audiologist for her first BAHS in 2014 where she was fitted with Ponto 3; “I had the trial and WOW!!! What a difference from my normal hearing aid.” Mandie likes to remember the first few sounds that stood out for her after having BAHS treatment; “Did you know your feet make a noise on carpet? I didn’t know that until I had my BAHA. I also recognized other  sounds e.g. hearing the hoover upstairs sounds different then when you are next to it”.

Although Mandie enjoyed this new level of hearing, over time she “began to understand that after 40 plus years of only hearing in my left ear, my right ear was now the dominate one. This really confused my brain.” Mandie recalls she “jumped at the chance” when being offered to receive a BAHS  for her left ear, making her bilateral. Mandie describes the experience as  feeling more “balanced” and her Ponto 3s could enable her to socialise again, attend meals, go to the pub, hear music, see comedy and go to public places. “A highlight was doing Jack the ripper tour for my husband’s 50th birthday - the tour guide used the microphone, Amazing!!”. Mandie also states that the microphone helped her to communicate with my family  on the telephone.

Mandie has recently been upgraded from Ponto 3 to Ponto 4 on both sides and describes her astonishment at trailing them for the first time: “Sitting in the coffee shop with Trish, I can hold a conversation, no distractions from the background noise. The sounds are in proportion - a feeling of distance/depth almost a direction that I haven’t had before. The quality of the sound is incredible, crystal clear, sharp less tinny sound.”.  Sitting in her garden a few days after being upgraded, Mandie enjoys listening to the birds singing.“I know I have heard them before but this time it feels different, like it is the first time I have really heard them”. Mandie has also since enjoyed the direct streaming of music from her iPhone, and it moved her to tears listening to her favourite musical. 

Of all her experiences, Mandie describes one of her most magical was being able to hear her daughter singing, which had previously been difficult. After being upgraded to Ponto 4 her daughter sent through her version of “Yesterday”, which was very emotional for Mandie, hearing her daughters voice; “I cried buckets and buckets. I could hear the soft tender tones of her voice, I could feel it, gosh is this how she really sounds, how wonderful. Something I can always treasure for the rest of my life”.