Hearing aid helps educator keep doing what she loves
CHRISTINE New jokes that there are times she wishes she could switch it off but she seriously couldn't live without her Baha.
Mrs New has a Baha (Bone Anchored Hearing Aid) and it has helped her to keep teaching.
The Amberley District State School prep teacher has been an early childhood teacher for 34 years.
The Baha sound processor is attached to the skull and converts sound waves to vibrations in the cochlear that are read by the brain. Mrs New has had hearing aids for about 20 years after losing her hearing through infection and has a Baha on her right side.
"I got my first hearing aid in my early 30s and then went to two hearing aids and then I went to the Baha and I still wear a behind the ear hearing aid on the other side," she said. "The reason I needed it is that because of infection I could no longer wear a hearing aid.
"This is a little bit different to the cochlear implant because the cochlear is still working but at the start, it's like you're listening inside a bubble, but it's quite subtle and it's a better sound in your head."
Having the Baha helps her keep working where noises - especially voices - fly thick and fast.
"It helps in the classroom," she said. "I can work out which child's talking to me and what they're saying."
But after teaching preschool, prep and grades one, two and three, are there times she'd like to turn off her hearing aids?
"Yes," she said with a laugh. "And sometimes when you go home. You shouldn't do it because you don't take your ears off when you go home - but sometimes you feel like doing it.
"But it's best if you wear your hearing aids all the time during the day so you learn to filter out the sounds you don't want to hear; that's what the natural ear does."
She has been upfront about the Baha with her students who were keen to know all about it.
"A couple of them asked me whether I was a robot," she said. "They've made robots and put a Baha on the back of its head."
Hearing Awareness Week
- Held this week, it aims to raise community awareness of hearing impairment and ways to protect your hearing.
- It gives the 22% of Australians 15 and over who have a hearing impairment a chance to share their experience and help to create a greater understanding of their needs.