WHEN Tamworth woman Amelia Leach had her new hearing devices “switched on” yesterday, she had never heard sounds so clearly.
The click of a camera, the rustle of paper and the whirr of the air conditioning unit were suddenly distinct, not a blend of white noise.
“Before it was more of a blur ... now it’s just so clear,” she said.
Mrs Leach had her bone-anchored hearing aids switched on for the first time, after having surgery in Sydney last month.
She had titanium screws drilled into her skull to secure magnets sitting under her skin, which hold the sound processors to the outside of her head.
For the Leaches, the timing couldn’t be more perfect – their two-year-old son Eric is just starting to learn to talk.
Mrs Leach said she couldn’t wait to hear his words ring out among the babbling toddler talk, and was looking forward to helping him “pronounce things a little better”.
“This is the best Christmas present ever,” she said.
Mrs Leach had been wearing hearing aids since the age of five due to damage in her middle ear drum and canal.
Her cochlear is healthy, so the bone-anchored hearing aids allow the sound to bypass the middle ear and help her hear.
The aids also come with a bluetooth device, which allows Mrs Leach to answer the phone straight through her hearing aids, rather than pressing the phone to her ear.
After giving birth, Mrs Leach suffered a suspected perforated eardrum and was plagued by constant ear infections, which were only alleviated when she stopped wearing her hearing aids.
She is the first Tamworthian with the new aids to get “switched on” in Tamworth at Sharon King Hearing Centre.
With the centre now able to switch on these hearing devices, it negates the need for country people to repeatedly travel to Newcastle or Sydney for sound adjustments, audiometrist Sharon King said.
She said the devices needed to be checked every six months, and travelling to the city could place stress and financial burden on people with hearing loss.