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Hearing Help Kit Evaluation from Ian...

Recently I had a “Bonebridge” implanted behind my right ear which required an operation and overnight stay at St Vincent’s Private Hospital at Darlinghurst Sydney. This was necessary as my right ear hearing had dropped significantly to the point that wearing a hearing aid was not the best solution. My hearing was at this time reduced to hearing only in the left ear with the use of a hearing aid.

In preparing for the operation I referred to the “Hospital Check List” card often to ensure that I had everything for my hospital stay. One comment about the card is that it lists a small torch to lip read the night nurse. Instead I took my mobile phone which gives a small light and installed an APP to turn the flashlight ON/OFF if I needed more light. As it turned out I did not have any visits by hospital staff during lights out so had I had no need to use my phone for light. Most patients brought their mobile phone with them and a charger for recharging. The hospital also advised me that having an ear operation my balance may be affected and suggested I bring footwear that could be slipped on to wear in hospital so that I would not have to bend over to put on shoes. In fact the hospital supplied me with scuffs to wear.

The “In Case of Emergency” card I found very handy as even though card numbers and medication were given to the hospital on my “Pre Admission Information Form” I was asked for this information again while in hospital and it was good to have this information all in one place. My greatest difficulty with hearing is using a phone. I am unable to hear on a mobile phone even before my recent hearing loss unless on speaker mode in a very quiet area. On the hospital “Pre Admission Information Form” it asked for my Home and Mobile phone numbers. In hindsight I should have used a stamp to place on my medical records to tell the hospital to only call me on my home phone and not on my mobile. The hospital rang my mobile on two occasions which I did not hear and followed one with a text message which I found the next day. Eventually the hospital rang my landline the night before I was to be admitted.

At the hospital when checking in I asked if my “Personal Hospital Kit” could be used. The administration officer did not know but thought the kit was a good initiative and stuck a “Stamp for Medical Records” on my record folder. I put the orange wrist band on with ‘Hearing Loss’ written on it which I was allowed to wear, even in surgery, during my stay. As there was no suitable place to display signs in the wards the wrist band turned out to be the best way to inform staff that I had a hearing loss.

In the admission ward the anaesthetist interviewed me and I showed her the “Personal Hospital Kit” which she thought was a good initiative. As she often worked with my ENT surgeon she said when she sees his name she assumes his patients are hearing impaired so when she spoke she looked at me, spoke slowly with a strong voice. She also discussed removing my remaining hearing aid and glasses. We agreed that she would remove these when I was sedated and replace them before I recovered so that at no time I would be unable to communicate.

Back in the ward after the operation the white information board that is normally situated behind the head of the bed was located on the wall near the foot of my bed. It had only information for me and not for hospital staff so placing a hearing loss sign on it was of no help. My medical file was not kept with me at the end of my bed but remained at the nursing station. This also made it difficult to link a sign with my records and myself. The nurse would come to me with a machine on wheels, take my blood pressure, pulse and temperature and then return to the nursing station with the machine to record the data. The orange wrist band was the best way of informing staff that I had a hearing loss and I displayed a “Desk Sign” on my bedside table however hospital staff did not comment on either.

Either I am now more experienced what to do in hospital having had five previous operations on my ears and three general operations in the past twenty years or the staff at St Vincent’s Private Hospital are very well trained as I did not experience difficulties like I have in the past. Having said this if I am hospitalised in the future I will use my Personalised Hospital Kit to inform the hospital staff of my hearing impairment and would encourage others with a hearing loss to use the Kit when hospitalised.

I have since travelled overseas and have found the check list cards in the kit very helpful so if you have a hearing problem you should obtain a kit even if you are not planning to go to hospital.

Ian Rimes

James McMillan

The "Story" According to James!

Upon retiring after being medically retired, I started to think what I could do to improve “my lot” as my hearing loss increased.
I stumbled across reading about BHACC (Better Hearing Australia, Central Coast NSW Branch) in the local paper and decided that I needed to do something as I was becoming less sociable.
I was warmly welcomed into the Thursday morning Gosford class and became a member, as I named it, of the “J crew”. I was the fifth person with the initial J for my Christian name.
This was a very close and friendly class that helped me tremendously. The techniques I learned enabled me to regain the social contacts that I had let slip.
I joined Probus and later took the positions of Vice President and President. I presided over the “ten year anniversary celebrations” which included producing a booklet outlining the first 10 years activities and achievements.
I also held the same positions, President for five years, for the Gosford Royal Country Dance class.
To do these things was a result of the tremendous benefit afforded to me from BHACC Gosford class!
I can’t thank the class members and our tutor enough!

A Testament from Joyce...

My name is Joyce Munday, I am 82 years old and was found to be hearing impaired for many years before being fitted with hearing aids at 42.
I became a member of B.H.A. Central Coast Branch 23 years ago and joined the Gosford Lipreading class.
During that time I have had a number of wonderful caring Tutors, they are all volunteers who have helped me to have more confidence in myself when I am out with friends or in a group situation.
Our classes are serious when it comes to Lipreading but also a lot of fun and laughter.
Being hearing impaired we understand each other’s problems and discuss them at length. B.H.A. is a wonderful organization and along with our dedicated committee do so much to help the hearing impaired.

Joyce Munday

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