Debbie visits: Cromwell audiologist Melanie Mackenzie
Crux sales manager Debbie Knowles is regularly out and about visiting businesses big and small for work - she meets people with passion who help make our district special. Got a suggestion for a sweet spot for Debbie to stop? Get in touch and let her know!
Are you hesitant about getting a hearing test or not sure if you have a problem or not? Meet Melanie Mackenzie, your local NZ Hearing audiologist since 2017. NZ Hearing is a network of locally owned and operated clinics across New Zealand, including Cromwell and Wānaka.
Melanie is a passionate advocate for breaking the stigma around hearing loss. She understands your concerns because she has been there herself. So have I. As a user of bilateral hearing aids, I was due for a hearing assessment to get a comprehensive understanding of my hearing health and make sure my lugholes aren’t going to completely fail on me completely anytime soon, and I couldn’t think of anyone better to visit than Melanie – the first deaf person to undertake a Masters of Audiology at the University of Canterbury.
Melanie, a proud Cromwell local and a cochlear implant user, has over a decade of experience and knows the challenges, struggles and triumphs of dealing with hearing loss firsthand - her story is also printed in the Southern Cochlear Implant Programme – Hear Our Stories. Melanie became an audiologist with a mission to make the process of getting a hearing test and wearing hearing aids as smooth and comfortable as possible for everyone.
There has been a stir lately from NZ Consumer with concerns that New Zealanders aren’t receiving consistent, ethical and cost-effective care when it comes to their hearing health.
Rest assured, with Melanie you’ll receive hands-on personalised care. Melanie was also extremely upfront about the cost of hearing aids, as I plan to move on from my geo-locked UK NHS-supplied pair, and should you get a demo pair and anything goes wrong in the trial period, there’s no expectation to pay.
In terms of the diagnostic assessment itself, Melanie put me at great ease - I honestly was nervous because two elements of the assessment were new to me, as back in the UK I was fitted hearing aids based only on a basic test.
A screen is a simple free beep test that will establish your baseline to determine if further diagnostic testing is required. Just like when you visit a doctor when something doesn’t feel right, it’s essential to also prioritise your hearing health and get your hearing tested.
Hearing loss is not just about missing out on sounds - research has linked it to cognitive decline due to increased effort needed to hear and understand. The brain also shrinks faster if you have hearing loss because it is not receiving as much audio input.
Hearing loss also causes people to be less socialable and as a result have less cognitive stimulation. So treating hearing loss is helping your brain alongside enhancing your quality of life.
A lot of people who notice reduced hearing or tinnitus are of the mindset ‘I’ll wait and see if it will get better’. It won’t! What exactly are you waiting for? Ignoring the issue is detrimental. Yes, there’s social stigma - ‘How will I look with hearing aids?’ ‘What will people think of me?’. You’re not stupid, you’re not ill and you have absolutely no reason to be ashamed.
Truthfully, most people won’t care you have hearing aids, and in terms of how you’ll look – thanks to advancements in technology, hearing aids are now very discreet. If you were sitting in a room with Melanie and I, the only way you’d know one has hearing aids and the other has a cochlear implant is because you’ve read this article.
Not only are hearing aids now more discreet, some models have Bluetooth connectivity, can be controlled via an app on your phone and can be life-changing! With prices starting at $1,500 for basic models and some government funding available for NZ citizens and residents, hearing aids are accessible to most budgets.
While hearing aids are accessible, Melanie understands it can still be difficult to accept you need them. Her personal experience and expertise ensure you (and I) receive empathetic, understanding and expert care. Don’t let fear of embarrassment hold you back. Embrace the opportunity to improve your hearing and overall well-being! Remember, your hearing health is not just an investment in your ears – it’s an investment in your future.
Queenstown & Cromwell readers – we’re extremely lucky to have Melanie Mackenzie. I personally can’t wait to go back and get fitted out with a new smart pair. And not forgetting Wānaka residents – Melanie also recommends Scott Wright at Wanaka Hearing for you.