NICE rule change on cochlear implants

19754645 - clown faceThe clown with the funny face has gone.  Or almost so.

I’ve been putting off writing this post because the initial announcement from NICE* on changed eligibility criteria for cochlear implants in England and Wales was flagged as confidential, with a publication date of 27 February.  But the National Cochlear Implant Users Association has gone public so if they can, I can.  It’s excellent news.  The new criteria are more generous and many more people should qualify for an implant as a result.

What’s with the clowns?  They were part of the dreaded Bamford-Kowal-Bench (BKB) test and it will go.  No longer will people sit in soundproof rooms and listen to a tape of someone with very clear diction, speaking very loudly, working through a list of sentences and pausing for a lengthy period between each one. Continue reading

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Things people don’t understand about hearing loss: number three…..the pain of it

21685279 - womanAnother thing people don’t understand about severe hearing loss; I don’t think they understand the pain of it.

I’ve written before about how helpful I found some counselling sessions in 2017, when things were at their worst.  The most helpful thing the counsellor did, in hindsight, was to give a name to my emotions.  “I’m hearing a lot of grief” she said.  Naming it was powerful.  Yes, it was grief.  It was a very profound grief, akin to losing someone very close to me, because indeed I had.  I had lost a part of myself.  Not just my hearing but my confidence, my personality…….quite a lot of “me”, in fact. Continue reading

Things people don’t understand about hearing loss: number two….hearing aids don’t give you your hearing back

45282551 - puppy listening with raised ear. dog eavesdroppingBut people think they do, don’t they?  They think you put them in your ears and, lo and behold, you can hear again.  But it’s not like that.  It’s become a bit of a cliché amongst people with hearing loss that hearing aids are not like spectacles, but it’s true.  I’m short-sighted but when I put my glasses on I can see almost perfectly.  Hearing aids???  No, no…..not like that at all.

Well, let me have a caveat here.  They don’t work like glasses unless your hearing loss is really fairly mild.  I meet people and I read about people who do, in fact, put their hearing aids in and experience a huge and immediate benefit.  I’m sure when I got my first one, about twenty five years ago, it made a big difference.  When there is just a relatively small amount of hearing loss to be tweaked amplifying the “hearing loss bits” works.  It’s when the “hearing loss bits” get more substantial that the problems really kick in. Continue reading

Plinkety plink; how do you tell if your ears are working?

Hello signI’ve had a perforated eardrum.  It was the non-implanted side, after a chest infection/cough….sudden sharp pain…..fluid coming out of my ear…..ring 111…..trip to see emergency doctor on a Saturday morning.  It all seems fine now but yes I did panic.  I particularly panicked when I couldn’t hear my hearing aid’s reassuring plinkety-plink-plink sound when I turned it on.  My GP said it might take a few weeks for the eardrum to heal enough to give me my “normal” hearing back in that ear but, just two weeks after it all began, things sound pretty good.  So that’s not the main point of this post.  The point is……what do you say to yourself to check that your ears are working??? Continue reading

Cochlear implant film: episode four

chapter 4 enlargedEpisode Four is now available.

I’ve had the operation, I’ve had “switch on”.  Here I am talking about the first few days of being back home with a new “thing” on the side of my head.  Getting used to it, arguing with it……and suddenly hearing a wide variety of environmental sounds I hadn’t heard for so long.

One of the original blog posts covering this period was In which I stir a mug of tea and that event (stirring the tea!) is something I still vividly remember. It can still make me tear up.  Continue reading

Cochlear implant film: episode one

Vera Med-El

Emotional breakfast at the Vera/Nigel house this morning.  The first episode of the film was released at 7am so we watched it over muesli (me) and porridge (him). We’d seen it once before, when we went to Innsbruck, Medel’s HQ, to approve the various chapters; we found it moving then and today was no different, looking back to when life was quite, quite different. Continue reading