A heartbroken mum who suffered from depression after realising she was deaf and couldn’t hear her son has credited an adorable spaniel for turning her life around.
Mum-of-two Sylvia McKenzie, 42, faced a terrifying journey after the birth of her son Alex, who is now 19, as she started to lose her hearing.
But now Slyvia, who is completely deaf, has spoken of how adorable hearing dog Wanda has helped turn her life around and given her hope again.
She says the two-year-old pup has “made her dreams come true”.
Sylvia said: “I noticed that I could not hear my son’s whimpers before him fully waking up and start crying at night to be fed, despite having his cot right next to my bed and me being a light sleeper.
“After I realised that I could not hear my son well, I became extremely stressed, scared and worried.
“Most nights, I could not sleep at all from the stress and worry. I kept checking up on him every few minutes. And during the day I would never let him out of my sight.
“After three months I had a nervous breakdown from the lack of sleep and stress. It was after that I went to my GP and explained the situation.”
Sylvia, who is originally from Lebanon and now lives in the Blackhall area of Edinburgh, was diagnosed with Congenital Sensorineural Hearing Loss.
Her hearing deteriorated quickly and has been declining steadily since.
By the age of 35 she was profoundly deaf.
She said: “It took me about three years after being diagnosed to admit to myself that I needed hearing aids.
“Having a toddler and giving birth to my daughter was the main reason for that decision.
“Then it took me further 13 years after that to actually ask for help with my hearing loss.”
She applied for a hearing dog, at the suggestion of her GP, a few years later.
At the time Sylvia, mum to Alex and Leah, 16, was suffering from severe depression, lack of confidence and social isolation.
In September 2017, she was matched with Wanda, a very affectionate and adorable two-year-old red Cocker Spaniel.
She said: “Hearing Dogs for Deaf People – I consider them my lifeline.
“They have been amazing with the whole process and readily answering my questions and providing me with any information I needed.
“The day I learned that I was matched with my Wanda, I was extremely emotional. I cried a lot that day.
“I was so happy, hopeful and relieved at the same time. Having Wanda was a dream come true.”
Wanda’s role is to alert Sylvia to sounds she can no longer hear but she also considers her a wonderful companion and best friend.
Sylvia said: “Wanda has filled my life with so much joy and happiness.
“I love her so much, she is my best friend who constantly and readily provides me with her love, comfort, guidance, and support, I never dared dream I will ever have that.
“She has made my life richer and more enjoyable.
“Suddenly I had my confidence back especially in public places, I started enjoying socialising and interacting with people.
“She is such a wonderful and supporting companion and best friend.