Meet Chris Mennan. Chris developed single-sided hearing in the year 2000. Soon after, he joined a community support group for the deaf and hard of hearing. He did home visits and talks to people about hearing loss and coping with hearing loss. With that experience, Chris began working in the repair clinic at the hospitals in his local area. He volunteered for nine years, visiting three clinics a week. Last year, he received a position as a technical officer in Audiology. All this is quite a contrast to the 25 years he spent as a police officer, 17 years of which he was a dog handler. As Chris puts it, “the people I saw then were never as happy as the people I see now.” Here’s Chris to tell more of his story…
My Journey in Finding a Single-Sided Hearing Solution
By Chris Mennan
It all happened very fast. One night about 14 years ago, I awoke to loud popping and banging noises in my ear. Even after seeking medical help, within a week, my left ear ceased to function whatsoever, and I was left with very loud tinnitus.
“Tinnitus (TIN-ih-tus) is noise or ringing in the ears. A common problem, tinnitus affects about 1 in 5 people.”
I eventually tried a cross aid with a wire that went across the back of my head, but as you can imagine, I found this extremely annoying and it wasn’t working well. Then, I was given a wireless cross aid. The wireless cross aid was easier to use, but I found the hearing aids uncomfortable to wear and they still didn’t work very well.
I was asked if I would consider a bone anchored hearing system, and I accepted without a second thought. The first bone anchored hearing system I tried which was definitely better than anything previous, but lacked clarity and it would not work with the FM system— even though it should have. Next, I did a trial of the BP110. It had better clarity than the Intenso, but it continually had problems with feedback and resonance.
That’s when my audiologist suggested I contact Oticon Medical to see if I could trial the Ponto Pro Power. Oticon Medical kindly agreed and even flew staff to the QE in Birmingham from Denmark to fit it. I was astonished by the clarity. This was the best sound quality so far. And, the FM receiver worked quite well with it too.
In January of this year, I was upgraded to the Ponto Plus. I couldn’t believe the difference, I can now block my good ear and hear clearly just listening through the new bone anchored hearing system. It sounded like I was in an open space outside. The sound it produces is a lot more complete than a normal hearing aid, and the streamer that came with it with the FM system is just outstanding. I put it on in the morning and I forget it is there. The head shadow problem of single-sided hearing and the problems it brings are a thing of the past.