Being able to hear and understand a child’s request is the most important part of Santa Cliff S.’ job. When he was struggling to do that in hearing aids, he knew it was time to find a different solution for his hearing loss. See how Santa hears again with the gift of the Baha® System:
“Many of my friends and family members know that for a number of years I have been hard of hearing.
My hearing loss was gradual, leading to the need for a hearing aid in my left ear first, and then when I almost totally lost my hearing in my right ear, I got an aid for it too.
However, even with hearing aids, I had trouble hearing in most situations, especially when I was visiting with children.
Of course it is important for me to understand what children are saying to me as Santa Claus, and there have been many embarrassing moments and some humorous when I misunderstood what they wanted me to bring them for Christmas.
Last year, I consulted with a physician about having a bone conduction implant inserted to assist my hearing. After many tests by audiologists and the physician, I decided to follow through and have this procedure.
Like any surgery that requires sedation and healing, I was nervous about having the operation, but the most important underlying reason for my decision was so I could hear every word my little friends as well as my family members were saying. I even requested if I could wear my Santa hat in the operating room, so the surgeon would know exactly where to place the internal device so my hat wouldn’t cover the processor and block the signal.
I was able to wear my Baha® 5 Power Sound Processor for the first time on Saint Nicholas Day, December 6, 2016.
Before getting the Baha System, when I had children visit with me, I’d sit them on my left knee because that was the side where I was able to hear the best. During one of the first visits with my new Baha System, I had a child sitting on both knees and before I knew it, the little girl on my right knee was telling me everything she wanted for Christmas, and I heard every word!
Tears began to roll down by my cheek as I realized that this present that I had chosen to give myself for Christmas was the most priceless thing I could have gotten…the ability to hear the requests from children again.
Another fun anecdote to share is last month I was invited to go to a celebrity event in Hollywood to promote a new product that I am featured on. My daughter agreed to go with me, and while we were there she helped me figure out how to use the Mini-Microphone 2+. While we were at the event, which was on the second floor of the building we were in, my daughterstood at the top of the stairs and then talked to me through the Mini Mic to tell me when someone was coming up the stairs. Sometimes she would recognize the celebrity or could read the sign with their name on it that their guide was carrying, so she would tell me their name. You can imagine how surprised the celebrities were when I would call them by name as they approached me. Some even commented, ‘He really must be Santa Claus; he even knows my name!’
As I look back to the prayers I made over this decision, the song ‘Do You Hear What I Hear’ has constantly been brought to my memory:
‘Said the little lamb to the shepherd boy,
Do you hear what I hear?
Ringing through the sky, shepherd boy,
Do you hear what I hear?
A song, a song, high above the trees,
With a voice as big as the sea,
With a voice as big as the sea.’
Learn more about Baha candidacy, products and surgery on our Professional Baha page.