Hearing loss changemaker Daphne Misbrener

Daphne Misbrener Former nurse and manager Australia

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“I was 22 years old, working as a registered nurse in a public hospital in Sydney, Australia.  

I contracted pneumonia and was subsequently hospitalized and given tetracycline to treat the disease. A few days later, I realized that I had tinnitus, which I reported to the registrar caring for me.  His reaction was, “you nursing sisters think you get everything in the book.”  Being young and naïve, I thought that maybe I was imagining it. So I went on taking the medication. 

A few months later, I had to resort to wearing bilateral hearing aids due to nerve damage, which is irreversible. The tinnitus remained in both ears, with a different frequency in each ear.  

I am now 78 years of age. Despite my hearing loss I continued my nursing career, interrupted only by a five years’ break when my children were little. I pursued extracurricular studies in midwifery, plastic and reconstructive surgery and burns, and management. I held responsible positions as nursing unit manager and was the Assistant Director of Nursing in a large private hospital for many years. During this time, I was supplied with a phone with a volume control (much appreciated in the day) and I made sure the medical practitioners and nurses working with me understood my needs. I also taught myself how to lip-read.  

Over time my hearing has continued to deteriorate. I am now 90% deaf in my left ear, and only a little better in my right ear. Six months ago, I bought new, top of the range hearing aids with Bluetooth, which I have found to be excellent. My audiometrist is surprised at how well I manage despite being profoundly deaf, and the people I meet often say the same. But it takes patience, determination, and concentration to succeed.”  

Daphne is a Changemaker who supports the call in the World Report on Hearing for hearing care for all, now. Help change the world for those with hearing loss by sharing her story.