From Sudden Deafness To A Robot Ear

Whilst clearing out files and paperwork during my day job office move, I came across my 2014 diary and decided to reread the (traumatic) years events.

I had detailed every single GP/Audiology/Therapy/A&E appointments and assessments that I attended throughout 2014 and thought I would share with you the journey I went through to get to this point today.

My reason for sharing this information with you all is partly to highlight how quick Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SSHL) really is and also to give those of you contemplating a Cochlear Implant, currently going through the process or having initially being rejected for an implant some hope; sometimes things work out for the best.

Timeline;

17/02/2014; Onset of SSHL symptoms.

18/02/2014; GP appointment – glue ear diagnosed.

22/02/2014; SSHL symptoms worsen, visit to A&E department of local hospital – perforated eardrum diagnosed.

24/02/2014; Audiology Appt with existing consultant – hearing tests performed – SSHL diagnosis. Hyper intensive course of steroids prescribed for 12-day period.

25/02/2014; GP appt – signed off work for one month.

13/03/2014; Audiology appt – new hearing aids provided for both ears (previously left ear unaided).

24/03/2014; returned to work

31/03/2014; Audiology appt – hearing levels retested, no change. MRI scan taken and referral made to St Georges Hospital Cochlear Implant Department.

08/04/2014; First appointment with consultant at St Georges Hospital

25/04/2014; Initial pre-assessment at St Georges Hospital

28/04/2014; Information session at St Georges Hospital

29/04/2014; New hearing aids provided by St Georges Hospital

16/05/2014; first assessment at St Georges Hospital – general hearing tests

23/05/2014; Speech perception assessments at St Georges Hospital – left ear aided = 6% speech perception, left and right ear aided = 12% perception and right ear aided = 0% perception.

02/06/2014; CAT scan at St Georges Hospital

04/06/2014; First hearing therapy appointment at St Georges Hospital

11/06/2014; MRI scan at St Georges Hospital

23/06/2014; Hearing therapy appt at St Georges Hospital

02/07/2014; Decision meeting at St Georges Hospital (referred to by the hospital as “family meeting”) – rejected for Cochlear Implant on basis that left ear hearing levels slightly out of NICE criteria range.

15/07/2014; Audiology appt to discuss rejection from St Georges Cochlear Implant team – referral made to Royal National Throat Nose and Ear Hospital (RNTNE).

18/08/2014; information session at RNTNE

09/09/2014; hearing therapy session at St Georges Hospital – asked to be referred back to current ENT dept.

03/10/2014; speech perception assessment at RNTNE – left ear declined since previous assessment.

06/10 – 09/10/2014; attended Hearing Link’s Intensive Rehabilitation Programme

20/10/2014; first hearing therapy appt at current hospital

05/11/2014; Decision meeting at RNTNE – accepted onto Cochlear Implant programme for right-sided implant

19/11/2014; GP appt for meningitis jab in preparation for surgery

27/11/2014; device choice meeting at RNTNE

04/12/2014; Cochlear Implant surgery!!

18/12/2014; medical check-up following surgery

14/01/2015; Switch on!!

Whilst 10/11 months might not sound a long time to most people, when you cannot hear, interact or go about your daily life as usual it seems an incredibly long time.

As I had gone through all of the assessments with St Georges Hospital, I didn’t need to go through the entire process again as all my records were sent directly to RNTNE so the only assessments I did there were the speech perception and MRI scans.

I am actually very thankful that St Georges Hospital rejected me for an implant following the first set of assessments as the waiting list was quite long and I actually got reassessed, implanted and switched on two months earlier than I would have if they had accepted me – as my Nan says “everything happens for a reason”.

If you are interested in reading about the surgery, warts and all, have a read here.

I also chronicled my switch on process here.

For information on how to spot the signs of Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss, read this handy guide.

 

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2 thoughts on “From Sudden Deafness To A Robot Ear

  1. Not only was your implant date much earlier at RN but also the quality of care and the staff were outstanding and far more personable than the larger hospital in tooting ever was (despite the old fashioned building)!! 🙂 x

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  2. Your journey was very quick and impressive. As someone who has suffered long term hearing loss deteriorating quickly in the last few years my journey has taken approximately 5 years. My hearing loss was just above the NICE guidelines the first time it was assessed using the BKB measure ignoring any social or mental stress impacts which for most of us are much greater. After being accepted in 2014 for an implant the operation took place earlier this year as the Welsh Assembly boosted funding before the end of the financial year otherwise I might still be waiting. It is acceptable in Wales for people once assessed and approved for an implant to wait at least twelve months. I am now campaigning for Wales to comply with NICE guidance which suggests 18 weeks for adults.

    My implant has been a huge success and I continue to have new experiences some good and some not so good. The difference this amazing technology has made to me cannot easily be expressed in words. I no longer feel isolated even though hearing is not perfect. My family are now with me again and I am with them. This cannot be measured by any test but makes so much difference in your sense of wellbeing.

    It is time for assessments for adults to take into consideration adults wellbeing when undertaking assessments which are close to the B&B line. There are risks for every one who has this procedure because it can fail. But someone in my position was looking at profound hearing loss sooner or later. So the risk would always have been worth it.

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