AUG - NOV 2013
For all your hearing options
''CHANGED MY LIFE'' It took pop legend Elton John to convince this sporting hero to wear his aids.
Could this revolutionise your life?
Research, innovations and things you need to know
Audiologists & Audiometrists
We explain the difference
REAL of HE ARIN COST G IMP LAN
“I am now in my 60’s and my hearing has paid the cost for my youthful activities”
n my youth I had a lot of fun. I was into motor racing, target shooting, flying aircraft, playing bass guitar and photography. Yes, it can truly be said that I had a lifestyle most young guys would envy. There is only one thing I would change about my early adult years – the use of hearing protection. I am now in my 60’s and my hearing has paid the cost for my youthful activities. I have been wearing hearing aids for about ten years now, and in the last twelve months, I have been using Moxi Pro, by hearing aid developer Unitron. Being an Insurance Investigator, understanding speech in all types of environments is critical. Not only is the performance great, but their size makes them comfortable to wear and in most cases, people aren’t even aware that I am wearing them. My hearing aids are also wireless allowing me to hear my mobile phone, even when it’s in my pocket and streams sound from the TV. I recommend taking action if you think you may have a hearing loss. And ask about Moxi Pro if you struggle to hear conversation, the TV or when on the phone. The difference is amazing.
Cheers, Bob McKay
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http://www.AdvancedBionics.com.au InfoAustralia@advancedbionics.com Mirza S, Douglas SA, Lindsey p, Hildreth t, Hawthorne M. 2003. Appreciation of Music in Adult patients with Cochlear Implants. Cochlear Implants International. 4(2): 85â€“95.
Editor Helen Lowy editor@hearingHQ.com.au Sub Editor Simone Wheeler Contributors Daniela Andrews, Yvonne Keane, Roberta Marino, Sharan Westcott Experts Assoc Prof Melville da Cruz, Audiologists: Emma Scanlan, Roberta Marino, Colleen Psarros Advertising Sales Executive Julia Turner jturner@hearingHQ.com.au 0414 525 516 Distribution distribution@hearingHQ.com.au 02 8095 9264 Publisher Lucinda Mitchell email@example.com Printed by Offset Alpine EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD Prof William Gibson AM Head of ENT Unit, University of Sydney Prof Gibson holds the Chair of Otolaryngology at The University of Sydney. He is Director of Sydney Cochlear Implant Centre and the author of 185 texts and scientific articles. His AM was received in recognition of his services to medicine.
Assoc Prof Robert Cowan, CEO HEARing Cooperative Research Centre Principal Research Fellow of Melbourne University, A/Prof Cowan has researched and published extensively in the fields of audiology, cochlear implants, sensory devices and biomedical management. He holds the '06 Denis Byrne Memorial Orator Award.
Sharan Westcott Clinical Manager, SCIC
BOOKS ‘N BLOGS
LIFE IS GOOD
MAA focuses on identifying practical, realworld solutions for people with disabilities to access audiovisual content to empower people to be independent. They provide advice to government, industry, educators and individuals.
THE REAL COST OF HEARING IMPLANTS We investigate why some people pay a lot and others pay nothing!
Google's potential to change deaf people's lives. Inspirational memoirs on developing successful careers in the hearing world.
ED’S LETTER NEWSBITES Research, innovations and things you need to know.
Audiologists and audiometrists.
The funny side of living with hearing loss.
ASK THE EXPERTS
A mum’s perspective on hearing loss.
REAL PEOPLE REAL STORIES Inspiring, life-changing stories.
Adjunct Prof Harvey Dillon Director of Research, NAL
Alex Varley, Chief Executive Media Access Australia
HEARING AIDS "CHANGED MY LIFE" It took a pop legend to convince this sporting hero to wear his aids.
Former principal audiologist for Australian Hearing, Sharan Westcott has provided audiology services to children and adults for more than 40 years and now coordinates a team of surgeons, audiologists, speech pathologists and social workers at SCIC.
Dr Dillon has researched many aspects of hearing aids, effectiveness of rehabilitation, auditory processing disorders and methods for preventing hearing loss. He has designed hearing aids, authored over 160 articles and his text on hearing aids is used worldwide.
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HERE TO HELP
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Professional advice on reader questions and concerns.
WHAT DO YOU WANT US TO FEATURE? HearingHQ is still growing and we'd love your help to turn it into something bigger. Let us know what you'd like us to feature by emailing your suggestions to editor@hearingHQ.com.au
Dr Neville Lockhart
After 45 years of profound deafness Dr Lockhart received a cochlear implant in 2005. His involvement in the cochlear implant support group CICADA and his technology background (retired senior CSIRO scientist) led him to become editor of CICADA Magazine (now Hearing HQ).
Olivia Andersen, Founder/Director Hear for You
Profoundly deaf from birth, Olivia Andersen started Hear For You, a not-for-profit organisation to help young deaf people achieve their life dreams. The birth of her first child prompted her decision to have a cochlear implant.
SUBSCRIBE for just $22/year for 3 issues (postage & handling). Mail the form on p15 or purchase online at www.HearingHQ.com.au. PO Box 649 Edgecliff NSW 2027 | 02 8095 9264 | subscriptions@hearingHQ.com.au The Editorial Advisory Board provides guidance and expertise on a voluntary basis. They may not review every article and make no warranty as to the scientific accuracy of the magazine. They are not responsible for any errors published and do not endorse advertised products. If you have any questions about editorial content, please direct them to editor@hearingHQ.com.au. If you have questions about product suitability for your specific needs, we recommend you consult an audiologist or doctor. Any person with health issues or medical concerns should first take advice from a health professional. Hearing HQ Aug - Nov 2013
newsbites CHINESE & INDIAN START-UPS ENTER
US $1 BILLION
COCHLEAR IMPLANT MARKET
The most satisfying part of my job is knowing that the content of the magazine is really making a difference to people’s lives and is delivering value. We’ve received a deluge of positive feedback both from the general public and audiologists about last issue’s “The Real Cost of Hearing Aids” Special Report (words like “wow” and “so well written, accurate, unbiased and informative”). So, I’m really excited to bring you “The Real Cost of Hearing Implants” Special Report just in time for Hearing Awareness Week. This report is special because it is the reason behind the creation of the magazine, inspired by the frustrations faced by our publisher’s stepfather in his search for information about cochlear implants. And it is worth noting that neither the magazine nor this report would exist without the foresight of CICADA Australia Inc and support by Advanced Bionics, Cochlear Limited and MED-EL who understood our publisher's vision to provide the general public with a free and independent source of information about hearing loss solutions. I hope you find it useful. And, congratulations to the Deaf Society of NSW on 100 years of working with and supporting the deaf community. As always, I look forward to receiving your feedback, questions for our experts and comments on things you would like to know more about. Happy reading! To have your say contact me at: editor@HearingHQ.com.au or PO Box 649, Edgecliff NSW 2027
Helen Lowy Editor
Hearing HQ Magazine is published by The Tangello Group Pty Limited 'The Tangello Group' (ABN 38 155 438 574) PO Box 649 Edgecliff NSW 2027 and is subject to copyright in its entirety. The contents may not be reproduced in any form, either in whole or part, without written permission from the publisher. All rights reserved in material accepted for publication unless specified otherwise. All letters and other material forwarded to the magazine will be assumed intended for publication unless clearly labelled “not for publication”. Text, photographs and illustrations received in hard copy must be accompanied by a self-addressed envelope stamped to the appropriate value (including registered or certified mail if required) if return required. The Tangello Group does not accept responsibility for damage to, or loss of, submitted material. Opinions expressed in Hearing HQ Magazine are those of the contributors and not necessarily those of The Tangello Group. No responsibility is accepted for unsolicited material. No liability is accepted by the publisher, the authors or members of the editorial advisory board for any information contained herein. All endeavours are made to ensure accuracy and veracity of all content and advice herein but neither Hearing HQ Magazine, its publisher, contributors or editorial advisory board members is responsible for damage or harm, of whatever description, resulting from persons undertaking any advice or purchasing any products mentioned or advertised in Hearing HQ Magazine or its website.
HQ Magazine Aug - Nov 2013
In China, where there are 28 million deaf people and 30,000 babies born without hearing each year, an imported cochlear implant costs tens of thousands of dollars and is out of the reach of most. While sophisticated electronics like computer chips have become less expensive as quality has improved, the price of cochlear implants has not changed much over the years. This motivated Chinese native Fan-Gang Zeng to try to come up with a cheaper alternative. Zeng has a PhD in hearing science from Syracuse University and is director of the Center for Hearing Research at the University of California at Irvine. With 75% of his start-up funding (about US$3.7m) provided by the Chinese government and state-backed hospitals and with authorities willing to fast-track the approval process, he launched Hangzhou Nurotron Biotechnology in 2005. After wrapping up clinical trials in 2010, he secured permission in less than a year to have the device used in patients aged 6 and older. At 98,000 Yuan (US$16,000), it is less than half the cost of an imported implant thanks to the low-cost manufacturing base for raw materials and labour. The company is considering expansion into Latin America and will “eventually” consider applying for approval in the US. In India, government-backed researchers at New Delhi’s Rockland Group of Hospitals, under chairman of the ENT and cochlear implant department Dr JM Hans, are starting a 2-year clinical trial of a locally-developed implant that could cost as little as US$2,500. Source: www.businessweek.com 28 March 2013
Ed: To balance the argument, rushed regulatory approval for commercial ends is a concern and cost savings in medical devices often result in a compromise, only discovered many years later when issues of infection or even death can arise. The key indicators that determine market sustainability for any hearing implant manufacturer is not only speech perception/development performance, but safety and long-term reliability. Two worldleading cochlear implant manufacturers have had fairly recent voluntary product recalls because patient safety must come first. Also, access in new markets to audiologists appropriately trained in implants is required to ensure patients receive real value from the technology.
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Genetic mutation causing hearing loss In 2010 a novel human gene mutation was identified as causing hearing loss. Researchers at the University of Melbourne have now discovered that this mutation induces malfunction of an enzyme commonly found in our body that destroys proteins. The study led by Dr Justin Tan, published in the American Journal of Pathology in June, identifies the inhibitor as SERPINB6. According to Dr Tan, individuals who lack both copies of this good gene were reported to lose their hearing from 20 years of age. “This is unusual because most people show gradual signs of age-related hearing loss from 60 years of age onwards but mutations in SERPINB6 accelerate this process. It is not yet clear how this mutation causes hearing loss.” Mice induced with the condition demonstrated the same trend of worsening hearing loss noticed in humans. When their inner ears were examined the team discovered that not only had the sensory hair cells that detect sound vibrations died, but also neighbouring cells that belong to a group of cells called fibrocytes that are also required to transform sound into electrical signals in our hearing nerve. It is an exciting discovery as while mutations affecting the hair cells have been known for decades to cause hearing loss in humans, mutations affecting the fibrocytes remain uncommon. Source: http://www.sciencecodex.com/hearing_loss_clue_uncovered-113906
a global research leader
Opened in April, the Australian Hearing Hub at Sydney’s Macquarie University brings together some of the country’s best researchers, educators, clinicians and innovators with expertise in audiology, speech pathology, cognitive and language sciences, psychology, nanofabrication and engineering sciences to improve the lives of people who experience hearing and language disorders. The state-of-the-art facility will enable ground-breaking advances in: mapping brain/hearing function; understanding auditory processing; assessing auditory system disorders; developing hearing aid and implant technologies; improving strategies for rehabilitation; and learning to hear. Macquarie’s leading speech, hearing and psychology clinics are now located here providing patients with clinical evaluation, testing and diagnosis from leading practitioners. The Hub’s industry-leading partners are Australian Hearing Services, National Acoustic Laboratories, Cochlear Limited, Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children, The Shepherd Centre, Sydney Cochlear Implant Centre, ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders and Hearing CRC.
Germany’s unique Auditory Garden Auditory Valley, a R&D network in Germany similar to Australia’s new Hearing Hub, is home to a unique permanent outdoor interactive exhibition called the Auditory Garden located at their “House of Hearing” in Oldenberg. Designed to acquaint visitors with the concepts being researched, the nine installations could be mistaken for modern sculptures. They demonstrate how we hear, how we localise sounds, how our ears amplify sound, how binaural hearing works, how vibrations are heard as sound and how we acoustically filter sound. Open to the public every day it is definitely worth a visit if you find yourself in Germany. While the website is in German, you can read it in English using Google Translate. www.hoergarten.de. We'd love to see an auditory garden like this in Australia - Ed
As the wind blows over the strings of the Wind Harp (above), they vibrate producing a soft mystical sound best enjoyed by laying your ear on the resonance chamber.
Hearing HQ Aug - Nov 2013
Contrary to popular belief, short-term hearing loss after sustained exposure to loud noise does not reflect damage to our hearing: instead it is the body’s way to cope. The landmark finding could lead to improved protection against noise-induced hearing loss in future. The research, a 20-year collaboration between NSW University, Auckland University and UCSanDiego, found that ‘reversible hearing loss’ is a physiological adaptation mechanism allowing the cochlea to perform normally when exposed to noise stress. “This explains why we lose our hearing for hours or days after we have been exposed to a rock concert, for example. The adaptation mechanism has been switched on,” says Professor Gary Housley of UNSW Medicine. Published in the prestigious journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, the findings show that as sound levels rise, the cells in the cochlea release the hormone ATP that bonds to a receptor causing the temporary reduction in hearing sensitivity. In lab mice with the receptor pathway removed through genetic manipulation the adaptive mechanism didn’t occur. This makes the ear vulnerable to longer-term noise exposure and the effects of age, eventually resulting in permanent hearing loss. This correlates with a finding in an earlier paper from the group that reveals a new genetic cause of deafness in humans involving the same mechanism. Despite this protective adaptive mechanism that allows the cochlea to deal with loud sound on occasion, constant loud noise can lead to irreversible damage through the loss of high frequency hearing. “It’s like sun exposure,” explains Housley. “It’s not the acute exposure but the chronic exposure that can cause problems years later.” The study goes some way to explaining why some people are very vulnerable to noise or develop hearing loss with age and others don’t. Source: PNAS 2013 ; published ahead of print April 16, 2013, doi:10.1073/pnas.1222295110
EXCITING NEW RELAY CALL OPTIONS FOR AUSTRALIANS The National Relay Service is a Federal Government phone solution for people who are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment. Seven new services are being developed to take advantage of internet and mobile technology advances. A SMS relay service for SMS-based calls to an ordinary phone plus the ability to access emergency service by SMS via NRS, and a video relay service for those who communicate through Auslan to make and receive phone calls were launched in July. New services due to roll out over the coming months include: improvements to internet relay so users can receive as well as make phone calls on internet-enabled devices; a web-based captioned telephony service so hearingimpaired users can read a person’s responses in a phone conversation in close to real time; a mobile app to access NRS services; a mobile/tablet-friendly version of the NRS website; and expanded NRS Helpdesk hours. www.relayservice.gov.au
Hearing HQ Aug - Nov 2013
Relief for the desperately
Australia has received its second Epley Omniax System thanks to a $225,000 grant from Gandel Philanthropy. Melbourne's Royal Victorian Eye & Ear Hospital now joins the Hearing & Balance Unit at Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital as one of only 34 clinics in the world able to offer the best diagnostic accuracy for sufferers of the balance disorder Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo. An inner ear disorder, BPPV is the most common cause of vertigo. A multi-axial motorised chair, it can position and move a seated patient in the plane of any one of the six semicircular canals. It uses real-time infrared video oculography to enable observation of nystagmus (involuntary eye movement) during provocative testing. This means shorter hospital stays and a rapid return to daily activities and productivity for the patient. Balance disorders severely impact quality of life and are widespread with 40% of those aged over 40 and more than 66% of people aged over 60 experiencing some form of dizziness or loss of balance. One of their most common emergency department presentations, each year the Eye & Ear treats around 2,000 patients with these conditions.
Image: Quest Newspapers
newsbites CAN YOU HELP? BIG
The HEARing Cooperative Research Centre and National Acoustic Laboratories will now be able to fast-track their cortical audiometer hearing test device thanks to a NSW government grant of $662,115. Using brainwaves to determine how well people hear, unlike current testing equipment it does not require verbal or behavioural responses from the patient. This makes it more accurate and is ideal for infants, stroke and dementia patients. It is suitable for testing all types of hearing loss.
New Hear and Say site in Ashgrove Australia’s ‘First Voice’ members lead the world in early intervention services for children who are deaf or hearing impaired. Queensland member not-for-profit Hear and Say has its main centre in Brisbane, five regional centres and an outreach program for remote rural areas serving 570 children and families. Demand is growing, but with less than 40% of its funding provided by federal and state support, it must raise more than $4 million each year to operate. After 21 years they have outgrown their Brisbane headquarters. With state support they have purchased a derelict building but desperately need community assistance to raise additional funds to renovate. If you can help, please contact Hear and Say at firstname.lastname@example.org.
World’s first single-unit cochlear implant processor launched It is always exciting to learn about technological innovations that will improve the lives and confidence of those with hearing loss. In April, Austrian-based MED-EL announced the launch of their revolutionary new cochlear implant audio processor at the Combined Otolaryngology Spring Meeting (COSM) in the US. The RONDO® is the world’s first processor where the controls, battery pack and coil are all combined into a single discreet unit. With no ear hook it is more compact than a traditional behind-the-ear processor and is presumably more comfortable, particularly if you wear glasses, and more durable with less pieces likely to get damaged. Cosmetically, the sleek round unit (available in four neutral colours to blend with most hair colours) discreetly disappears into the hair. It can be worn by all users of MED-EL cochlear implants and is designed for compatibility with future sound coding strategies. In countries where the device has already received regulatory approval, MED-EL is promoting a time-limited “2 Ways to Hear” special offer. People who choose a MED-EL cochlear implant system during the promotional period will receive both the RONDO and the OPUS 2 behind-the-ear processor (both feature the same technologies) so they can select the best processor for every situation. The RONDO is currently being reviewed by Australian authorities and once approved for use hopefully MED-EL will give Aussies the opportunity to benefit from the same promotion.
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"I just hope it doesn’t get worse. I want to be able to hear people.” 8
Hearing HQ Aug - Nov 2013
"changed my life" Unless you are a rugby union fan you may not have heard of handsome 34-year-old former England winger Ben Cohen MBE. Called the "David Beckam of Rugby Union", the 2003 World Cup winner (against Australia) fought his way to the very top of his game, but as Helen Lowy discovered, it took a phone call from Sir Elton John to convince him to start wearing hearing aids. Ben Cohen is the founder of the world’s first anti-bullying charity. Now retired from rugby, he is using his image and the huge following built up during his professional career to fuel the project. The StandUp Foundation is dedicated to raising awareness and funding to tackle the long-term and damaging effects of bullying. His passion for this cause was spurred by the tragic loss of his father in late 2000. Peter Cohen, 58, died of serious head injuries when he stood up for an employee who was being attacked at the nightclub owned by Ben’s older brother, Jason. Ben recalls, “There was an everlasting emotional damage caused for us and they were difficult times. It was hard for me with rugby in a way, but I ended up using my anger and sadness as motivation to win the [Rugby] World Cup and become the best player in the world. In that time it was really very tough for my family. I found playing rugby enabled me to get rid of my aggression and be a stable presence for them.” Then in early 2004, at the peak of his career, doctors gave him the news that he was going deaf. He recalls the tests that first diagnosed his deafness: “The doctor
just said ‘You’ve got really bad hearing – 33% loss in each ear, as well as tinnitus,’ which explained the ringing in my ears that had gone on for ages. Longer than I could actually remember. “It sounds strange but I’d never paid much attention to it because it had always been there – even as a kid at school. But it wasn’t as bad then so it didn’t affect me. Whether it’s quiet, when I’m trying to sleep, or whether it’s noisy, it’s always there.” Rugby players are often recognised for their ‘cauliflower’ ears, swollen from rough and tumble scrums, but Ben’s problem was unprompted by the sport. “Although hearing loss in someone of my age is unusual, they said it wasn’t anything to do with rugby but that it was probably hereditary because my dad’s hearing was terrible. “It wasn’t a shock because I knew there was a problem. I just had to make the most of it and focus on my rugby career.” In keeping with the macho image of rugby, he just “got on with it”. In fact, his hearing loss even helped him on the pitch. “Rugby is one of those sports where being deaf need not be a barrier to playing – whether at grass roots or international level. It’s a game that relies on instinct as well as skill, and while there will always be challenges for deaf or hearing-impaired players; the opportunities are comparable as for any other player. “My communication was very good because I made sure that everyone heard me. When you’re very loud, you get the ball more because people pass to the noisiest person. That was one of my strengths. The referees have a laugh
about it when I can’t hear them." But off the pitch, he couldn’t ignore it so easily. “People always thought I was really rude – I could walk past someone and they’d speak to me and I wouldn’t pay them any attention. “It’s been OK but there are funny moments. I was in the backs’ meeting before the World Cup final – yes, on the day of the game – and sitting there, head down, studying the notes. Everyone had got up and left the room and I had no idea. Clive [Woodward] had to come over and tell me.” Eventually his wife Abbie persuaded him to seek treatment and get a hearing aid as she was annoyed that she had to repeat things. But he never wore them finding the constant taking in and out while he was training and playing annoying and the amplification of background and foreground sounds unmanageable. Instead he got by with lip-reading - he manages it so expertly, with his attentiveness making him appear even more engaged, that you would never know he’s hard of hearing. Because background noise often triggered his tinnitus and as lip-reading only works face-on, he was finding it harder and harder to rely on that technique alone. Ben’s ringing ears would turn other people’s voices into an inaudible hum and being shut out of conversations became increasingly isolating for him. At the pub with his team mates he couldn’t hear a thing that was being said. He first spoke about his deafness in a national newspaper in The Independent on Sunday in January 2010 when he got involved with helping the National Deaf Children’s Society to publicise a Hearing HQ Aug - Nov 2013
series of video clips of sign language for rugby players. Designed for coaches to communicate better with deaf and hardof-hearing players, they show the signs for words and phrases such as tackle, pass, attack, scrimmage and first aid. “Everyone in rugby knows me as ‘Eh?’ because of my deafness. It didn’t stop me becoming a professional player but it’s never been easy. If the ability to sign rugby words helps more kids get into the game, it’s got to be good. “Anything that helps coaches communicate with deaf players, particularly young players who are new to the game, is going to help promote the sport among the deaf community, and integrate these players into mainstream clubs. If coaches can converse with players using signing, even on a basic level, it is going to increase their enjoyment of the game.” Using his celebrity status as a platform, Ben has not only put his energies into making sports more accessible to hearing-impaired children, but has made bullying his predominant cause. “I would never have imagined my career was going to move in this direction. Sport has put me in the privileged position I am in today to be able to work on these exciting new projects. As athletes, it is not enough just to have strong bodies, we must have strong character and use our voices to support those who need and deserve it.” The StandUp Foundation tackles bullying of all forms both in the UK and USA. “Parents have written to me sharing painful stories about how their children, who might be perceived to be different, are ruthlessly attacked and scared of their own schools.” And, as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people are often targeted by bullies, the foundation gives particular attention to this group prompted by the suicides of several gay teenagers who had been bullied by their peers. So how did a straight sports star (he and Abbie have 4-year-old twin daughters) become a champion for the gay community? Over a decade ago Ben appeared in an advertising campaign for European underwear brand Sloggi and those
images ricocheted around the Internet introducing him to many gay men. From there his fan base grew. Some years later, unaware of his new admirers, a friend pointed out his Facebook fan page had some 37,000 followers (there are now nearly 250,000). And what was his reaction? “For me it was fine, I was comfortable with my sexuality and had great family core values. But on the group there were all these emails that came in, which were horrific accounts of people’s experiences. There were people who didn’t have anyone to turn to, they couldn’t go to their families or friends and they get caught in a real downward spiral; I found it very, very sad. For me, no one should be bullied for being perceived to be different and I was in a great position, a real privileged position with a voice to make a difference.” Although the sporting community has improved its attitude, Ben believes homophobia is one of the industry’s last taboos. “I might play one of the most violent sports in the world, but I still know right from wrong. The important thing is to educate people about what bullying does. It’s about understanding. “We are actually where racism probably was 20 years ago. Education is needed as people need to understand what homophobic slurs are, what they mean, what they do. With racism, people know that now, there’s a lot of work to be done but we want to try and really drive that cultural change. “I am passionate about standing up against bullying and homophobia in sports, and feel compelled to take action. It is time we stand up for what is right and support people who are being harmed. Every person on this planet has a right to be true to themselves, to love and be loved, and to be happy. I encourage others to stand up with me and make a difference.” Shortly after the foundation launched in 2011, and still not wearing his hearing aids, a rather unexpected phone call from a pop legend would change Ben’s life forever. StandUp had caught the attention of Sir Elton John who called out of the blue to introduce himself. Standup magazine launched as a quarterly with the Nov/Dec '12 issue. A share of profits will support The StandUp Foundation.
Hearing HQ Aug - Nov 2013
Elton, who is an ambassador for the Starkey Hearing Foundation (a charity that helps children who suffer from hearing loss in Third World countries get access to better education and treatment) said, “I hear you’re deaf. I love the work you’re doing and I’d love to help you. When you are next in America I’m going to send you over to Starkey and fit you out with new state-of-the-art hearing aids.” When Ben was tested at Starkey he found his hearing had deteriorated over a decade and had worsened to 50%. “They tested my hearing more thoroughly than I’d previously experienced.” “I’m into the profound hearing loss category. I’m going deaf. Certain sounds – such as the letters T and K – I can’t really hear at all. But my new hearing aids are directional, so they pick up the sound in front of me, like the person I’m talking to, more than background noise. I’ve got a remote control with it that can
muffle the sound in a crowded bar so it’s not too intense. They also gave me headphones that fit into your ear that I can link up to the TV.” Ben’s experience shows that getting help for hearing loss can be life-changing and there is no need to suffer in silence as he did for years. Of his new hearing aids he says, “I use them a lot. They’ve changed my life.” Sadly, technology can’t prevent further deterioration and his doctors don’t know how much worse it will get, but optimistically he says, “There’s no point worrying about it because it’s out of my control. I just hope it doesn’t get worse. I want to be able to hear people.” And does he still see Elton? “Yeah, I do, and he’s a big supporter of my foundation. My wife and I went round there for dinner. He helps whenever he can.“ Every purchase of StandUp branded merchandise benefits the anti-bullying
work and supports foundation grants. To “shop the brand, support the cause, stop the bullying” visit www.standupfoundation.com.
Ben Cohen with Elton John
Everyone's hearing loss problems are different And they're not all solved with hearing aids There are over 50 different reasons why you could be suffering from hearing loss. That's why we don't believe in a 'one size fits all' approach. We find the best solution for your problem. And we offer a 30 day money back guarantee on all aids and devices. With hearing aids costing from $1,995 up to $12,000 you want to be sure you really need them. So our qualified audiologists take the time to understand your particular needs. We also have your clinical tests double-checked by an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist at no extra cost. Our comprehensive testing means we can consider all the possibilities for improving your hearing - from hearing aids to hearing implants, or perhaps other surgery which can be a more effective, longer-lasting and less costly option.* Attune Hearing offers you an extensive choice of the latest hearing aids and assistive hearing devices suitable for any budget.** For eligible pensioners and veterans, we are Federal Government-accredited to provide hearing aids and services free of charge. Whether your hearing condition is new, long-standing or your have persistent ringing in the ears (tinnitus), the first step is to call us.
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Disruptive innovation for the hearing impaired?
Google Glass is essentially a wearable computer that sits on your face and is controlled by touch and voice commands. A single glass lens over one eye displays colour images in a similar fashion to the display you see on fighter jets or on sports cars - the resolution has been described as a 53cm television viewed at a distance.
There are a few niggling issues with the headset experienced by an army of testers in the real world. It doesn’t fold like a pair of glasses, making storage difficult. Battery life is poor. People have reported that the display doesn’t look great. Despite all that, despite the reliance on voice commands… I’m excited. From what I’ve seen and read so far, Google Glass could be a truly disruptive innovation that smashes down access barriers for deaf people in a way that’s never been done before. The term “disruptive innovation” coined by Harvard professor Clayton Christensen, refers to technology that does not just alter the market, but creates an entirely new one. Past disruptive innovations are the leap from physical music formats to MP3s or the transition from the Encyclopaedia Britannica to Wikipedia. Google Glass has the potential to be a bigger innovation for deaf people than the textphone, teletext subtitling, mobile phone texting, cochlear implants or relay services.
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CINEMA SUBTITLES ANYTIME, ANYWHERE If you want a subtitled film at a cinema, you have to keep an eye out for specially scheduled subtitled screenings, not always at a convenient time. The alternative iOS and Android apps providing real-time subtitles for films are good, but watching a film with subtitles on a second screen means you have to keep changing focus from near to far. If similar apps were made available for Google Glass, deaf people would be freed from the tyranny of cinema scheduling and subtitle availability. We could go to see any film we wanted, wherever and whenever we wanted – pop the Google Glass headset on, use the built-in camera to recognise the opening logos of the film and sync the subtitles to the film as it plays out on the big screen. LIVE SUBTITLING WHEREVER YOU GO Google already has real-time speech recognition software running on YouTube and on its Android platform. It’s not perfect… but it’s getting better. It also seems to work better with American accents than British ones – I recently watched Patton Oswalt’s Star Wars filibuster on Parks and Rec and found the automatic captions surprisingly good. Google are working to improve the accuracy of their automatic voice recognition all the time with the recent acquisition of a Neural Network startup. If Google’s automatic offering isn’t good enough, you could always book remote captioning for your Google Glass headset via companies like Red Bee Media. DISCREET IN VISION INTERPRETING One major issue for any deaf person talking to a hearing person via sign language interpreter is eye contact. This eye contact is broken when the deaf person looks away from the hearing person speaking to an interpreter or to their video monitor. With Google Glass, having a sign language interpreter on screen would mean you can look directly at the person you’re speaking to – and see the sign language interpreter clearly. This subtle yet key difference to how deaf people interact with hearing people socially and professionally could have huge social benefit.
NIGHT VISION & RADAR Some deaf users may also have visual impairments such as poor night vision, tunnel vision and more. Google Glass could be a useful tool using the built-in camera to project an enhanced, zoomed-in ‘night vision’ mode for people to navigate safely in the dark. Or perhaps it could work with Google Maps and GPS to create a live real-time ‘radar’ showing where the wearer is at all times and where they are in proximity to roads and other hazards. THE CONNECTED HOME Many deaf people’s homes have specialised doorbells, fire alarms, baby alerts and more. A recent patent shows Google is looking into various connectivity options – so everything that happens in your home could be transmitted to, and controlled by, your headset. You’d receive visual or vibrating alerts for anything from an oven pinging to a doorbell ringing. Not only would that be cool, but it would certainly minimise all the different gadgets cluttering up the home! Those are just a few possibilities. My gut feeling is that Google is a pretty deaf-friendly company. As well as honing their real-time captioning, they’ve done little things here and there like enabling sign language interpreting in Google Hangouts so I’m sure there are people out there thinking up new ways to use Google Glass that are beyond our current scope of imagination. * William received a cochlear implant in 2012
Images: Google Glass
A year from now, Google will be selling a pair of glasses that transmit sound to the wearer through bone conduction. And it has the potential to change deaf people’s lives forever, according to London-based film and television producer/director William Mager*.
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Following our April 2013 report on the real cost of hearing aids, editor Helen Lowy investigates the funding available for implantable hearing devices with the help of Sharan Westcott (SCIC) and Roberta Marino (Specialist Hearing Services). A cochlear implant, also referred to as a bionic ear, is the most common implanted hearing device. For conditions where a cochlear implant isn't suitable, a bone conduction implant or middle ear implant may be an option. Auditory brainstem implantation is a highly advanced and rare type of procedure involving the modification of a cochlear implant for those with compromised auditory nerve function. Each device has an internal component implanted by an ear surgeon and an external sound processor fitted, programmed and maintained by an audiologist specialising in implants. Because surgery is involved, implants are classified as a medical procedure, so funding is different to hearing aids. If you are considering any of these
Hearing HQ Aug - Nov 2013
Some patients pay nothing while others pay a lot, usually because they haven't investigated their eligibility options. This report focuses on cochlear implants - by far the most common hearing implant procedure and so the funding guidelines are clearest. Every Australian has access to the public hospital system for free medical care including cochlear implants. We are very lucky in Australia to have such good public medical support for cochlear implants, so the cost of $25,070 for one shouldn’t deter anyone from considering the procedure. For bone conduction implants, while there is no specific public funding, it is worth asking your clinic if they can access public hospital funding for the implantable portion (that costs around $2,000). Private health insurance covers the full cost of surgery, the bone conduction implant and the external speech processor (the expensive part of the device at around $6,500). If you don't have private health insurance,
your speech processor may be covered by Australian Hearing if you meet their eligibility criteria or your clinic may be able to access charitable funds. Currently there is no allocated public funding for middle ear implants, but this may change. Auditory brainstem implants are performed by only a few surgeons in the country, usually in a public hospital with a specialist neurology team. Public funding for these fall under the cochlear implant category and where there is an urgent clinical need the patient receives priority.
Costs to consider
The cost of a cochlear implant is broken down into: 1. Medical and surgical costs 2. Device cost (internal surgicallyimplanted component and external sound processor) 3. Clinical services (for pre-assessment and testing, the post-implantation acute phase, rehabilitation and lifetime ongoing support) 4. Future repairs, replacements or upgrades, plus spare parts and batteries It is important to discuss with your clinic, hospital, surgeon, anaesthetist and health fund what costs you are required to cover and what funding, if any, might be available to you for the following: 1. Pre-implantation clinical services – audiology, MRI/CAT scans, electrical response, balance testing 2. Hospital expenses – accommodation, theatre fees, medical supplies 3. Medical expenses – surgeon and
Images courtesy of Advanced Bionics
implants it is worth doing your research as costs can vary significantly depending on the clinic you select. Understanding the funding options can be challenging as they are complex and there is no one source for everything.
HEARING IMPLANTS anaesthetist fees 4. Post-implant clinical services – switchon, mapping, performance testing 5. Device cost – first and second device 6. Future upgrade of external electronic component – speech processor 7. Replacement of lost or broken parts 8. Replacement of implanted component 9. Batteries and spare parts 10. Maintenance and repairs 11. Maintenance care plan/extended warranty 12. Insurance against loss and/or breakage of the speech processor If you’re considering a cochlear implant, a number of organisations provide support and information plus the opportunity to talk to people who already have one. Get in touch with one of the following non-profit organisations: CICADA Australia Inc, Cochlear Awareness Network or Better Hearing Australia (see p34 or www.hearingHQ.com.au). Public NSW Public surgical & device funding Every state government ACT except NT fund a limited VIC number of cochlear implants QLD each year. Once the allocation is exhausted patients go on a SA waiting list. Public funding typically TAS covers the device and associated procedures and WA may cover some acute phase rehabilitation. Children are the priority and rarely wait as early
intervention is critical for language development. As an adult, if you opt to use the public hospital system you will wait considerably longer than a paying private patient. How generous the state is with funding largely determines how long adults wait (waiting periods range from 6 months to 5 years). Some states split public funding for adults and children, while others provide a lump sum for both categories. Funding is paid directly to the hospitals. Adults are eligible for one device, while most states provide two (bilateral) for children. Over time funding has generally increased to meet demand and changing hearing criteria. Currently NSW, ACT and Victoria have the best public funding for adults.
hospitals with implant funding
Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Children’s Hospital Westmead Sydney Children’s Hospital John Hunter Hospital Canberra Hospital Royal Eye & Ear Hospital Royal Children’s Hospital Mater Hospital Women’s & Children’s Hospital Flinders Medical Centre Royal Hobart Hospital (surgery performed in Melbourne) Princess Margaret Hospital for Children Royal Perth Hospital Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital Fremantle Hospital
COCHLEAR IMPLANTS For severe to profound hearing loss in both ears due to a damaged cochlea or auditory nerve. An electrode array inserted in the cochlea uses electrical current to stimulate the auditory nerve fibres, bypassing the damaged or missing portions of the middle and inner ear. A microphone, sound processor and transmitter are worn externally. Adults require intensive auditory training with a specialist audiologist and children require auditory-verbal therapy or speech and language pathology. AUDITORY BRAINSTEM IMPLANTS For compromised auditory nerve function. The cochlear implant electrodes are placed directly on the cochlear nucleus in the brainstem, bypassing the damaged hearing nerves. BONE CONDUCTION IMPLANTS For mild to moderately severe hearing loss where a hearing aid is unsuitable due to chronic ear discharge, allergic reactions or malformation of the outer or middle ear. The external sound processor converts sounds into vibrations and sends these to a titanium prosthesis embedded in the skull. Using the body’s natural ability to transfer sound through bone, the vibrations are sent directly to the inner ear. MIDDLE EAR IMPLANTS For moderate to severe hearing loss and where foreign bodies in the ear canal cannot be tolerated due to chronic inflammation or eczema. Mechanical energy is used to stimulate a transducer (attached to one of the tiny ossicular bones of the middle ear or the round window) that converts sounds into vibrational energy to mimic the function of the middle ear and directly stimulate the cochlea. An external sound processor is fitted to a magnet implanted under the skin on the bone behind the ear. Hearing HQ Aug - Nov 2013
If there is a strong clinical need for bilateral implants for Your hospital costs will depend on your level of hospital adults most states have some provision available, although cover and choice of hospital (public or private). there is a significantly longer waiting period than for an initial Many private health insurers have no-gap agreements single implant. with most hospitals, some surgeons and some anaesthetists, In SA, there is a waiting list for older children and those so all you may pay is your excess fee. So, check if your fund who already have a single implant and more funding for these has an agreement with the hospital and providers your clinic children is being sought. proposes to use. Queensland and Victoria seem to have Hearing loss is not considered a preIn Australia there is no age the best bilateral funding for children existing condition, but if you have a new restriction on public funding for and recently the Queensland government health insurance policy you may have cochlear implants. The majority to wait (usually 12 months) before you announced an increase in funding for 2013-14 to clear their waiting list for adults take place in children under 2 can undergo the procedure. Also, if you and children. years of age and in adults 70 to change your level of cover, be aware that For those that qualify, the Department some funds now don’t include cochlear 79 years, but the over 40 age of Veterans’ Affairs will fund the full cost implants in their basic hospital cover so group is growing. of initial cochlear implant surgery. read the fine print or ask.
Private surgical & device funding
Private health insurers are legally obliged to fully reimburse devices on the Federal Government’s Prostheses List. If your policy covers surgically-implanted prostheses, the device and the procedure should not cost you anything. (Always check with your health fund as some smaller ones may classify the device as a hearing aid resulting in a significantly smaller reimbursement.) Health funds generally consider simultaneous bilateral (two) cochlear implants on a case-by-case basis.
RIDBC Cochlear Implant Program allows a seamless, end-to-end service from diagnosis through implantation and habilitation. RIDBC provides the expertise to support you along every stage of the cochlear implant journey and works closely with your elected surgeon. Centre-based or remote service delivery is available for all components of the program using videoconference or web-based technologies.
For further information contact 1300 581 391 or email@example.com The Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC) is Australia’s largest non-government provider of therapy, education and diagnostic services for people with hearing and vision loss.
Choosing a clinic
The first step to getting a cochlear implant is to find a clinic that suits your budget, family situation and location. Accessibility is important as cochlear implants require ongoing support for life. While the surgeon implants the device, the clinic provides the pre-, post- and ongoing audiological support required to make it work, to train your brain to adjust to hearing in a different way and to ensure you get the best outcomes from the technology. The initial assessment phase involves a variety of audiological and medical tests, plus appointments including MRI and CT scans and often for adults, a balance test. The post-surgery acute care phase (requiring regular visits to the clinic) is 6 months for adults and 12 months for children. Over the long-term adults require a mapping session at least once a year and children every 6 months. If you live more than 100kms from your clinic you may be able to access government financial support for travel and accommodation. Ask if the clinic provides loan devices so you or your child don’t go without hearing while a device is being repaired or replaced. Some offer a 24-hour helpline and will send out a loan device, often by the next day. Cochlear implant clinic charges depend on their business model. Privately-operated clinics charge for their services. Public clinics linked to public hospitals provide their services free of charge. Non-profit clinics aim to provide as much of their services for no cost (to public and private patients) by charging only the Medicare scheduled fees.
Often aligned with a university, research centre or hospital, non-profit clinics are charitable organisations that predominantly use fundraising to provide as much of their service free-of-charge. Some also provide outreach centres in remote or regional areas and teleaudiology services. They will work with you from identification and assessment through to post-surgical therapy and future audiological support, with some providing all implant-related services under the one roof. They work with ENT surgeons and anaesthetists connected with both public and/or private
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For further details please contact MED-EL Australasia on 1300 744 782 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Non-profit implant clinics
NSW Royal Institute for Deaf & Blind Children 1300 581 391 / TTY 02 9871 1233 email@example.com Sydney Cochlear Implant Centre (SCIC) Sydney, Penrith, Gosford, Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Lismore 1300 658 981 firstname.lastname@example.org The Shepherd Centre (First Voice) Sydney (3 locations), Wollongong, Canberra 02 9351 7888 email@example.com ACT SCIC 1300 658 981 firstname.lastname@example.org VIC Melbourne Cochlear Implant Clinic 03 9929 8624 / TTY 03 9929 8681 email@example.com Taralye (First Voice) 03 9877 1300 firstname.lastname@example.org QLD Hear and Say Centre (First Voice) Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Cairns, Townsville, Toowoomba 07 3870 2221 email@example.com SA Cora Barclay Centre (First Voice) 08 8267 9200 firstname.lastname@example.org WA Telethon Speech & Hearing (First Voice) 08 9387 9831 email@example.com Ear Science Institute Australia Implant Clinic 08 6380 4944 firstname.lastname@example.org
Regional/remote outreach programs NSW QLD NT NAT'L
Contact details above SCIC Hear and Say Hear and Say, SCIC Royal Institute for Deaf & Blind Children
Images courtesy of Advanced Bionics
Hearing HQ Aug - Nov 2013
Private implant surgeons & clinics NSW
Dr Catherine Birman (Ryde) 02 9473 8737 email@example.com Dr Melville da Cruz (Westmead) 02 9635 1030 firstname.lastname@example.org Dr Robert Eisenberg (Newcastle) 02 4965 5966 email@example.com Dr Sean Flanagan (Darlinghurst, Miranda) 02 9380 5900 firstname.lastname@example.org Dr Simon Greenberg (St George, Bowral, Campbelltown) 02 4625 1682 Dr Jonathan Kong (Crows Nest, Lindfield) 02 8090 2525 email@example.com Attune Hearing (Chatswood) 02 8423 6000 firstname.lastname@example.org Healthy Hearing & Balance Care (Bondi Jnt) 02 9387 3599 email@example.com Hearing & Balance Centre (3 Syd locations) 1300 134 327 firstname.lastname@example.org Hearing Aid Services Australia (Central Coast) 02 4322 2282 email@example.com Hearing Innovations (Edgecliff) 02 9327 6611 firstname.lastname@example.org Northside Audiology (Chatswood) 02 9419 6999 email@example.com Precision Hearing (Darlinghurst) 02 9360 7779 firstname.lastname@example.org Westside Hearing Clinic (Bankstown, Auburn) 02 9360 7779 email@example.com QLD Dr Ranit De (Toowoomba) 07 4634 7781 firstname.lastname@example.org Attune Hearing (various locations) 07 3832 5156 email@example.com Neurosensory Unit (various locations) 1300 965 513 firstname.lastname@example.org Whitsunday Hearing Clinic 1800 008 308 email@example.com SA South Australia Cochlear Implant Centre 08 8379 4500 firstname.lastname@example.org WA Prof Marcus Atlas (Subiaco) 08 6380 4990 email@example.com Dr Latif Kadhim (Bunbury) 08 9791 3252 firstname.lastname@example.org Dr Gunesh Rajan (Fremantle) 08 9431 2144 email@example.com Dr Stephen Rodrigues (Nedlands) 08 9386 3055 firstname.lastname@example.org Advanced Hearing WA (Busselton) 08 9751 1899 email@example.com Medical Audiology (West Perth) 08 9321 7746 / TTY 1800 552 152 firstname.lastname@example.org Specialist Hearing Services (Mt Hawthorn) 08 9444 8296 email@example.com Suzanne Strapp Audiology (Bunbury) 08 9791 3252 firstname.lastname@example.org
hospitals for the surgical and medical services. Australia’s largest non-profit program is run by the Sydney Cochlear Implant Clinic (SCIC). It has 7 clinics in NSW/ ACT and a NSW and NT outreach program (60% of their patients are outside the Sydney metro area). Their surgeons operate across both public and private hospitals and charge no gap for private patients. The second largest and oldest nonprofit program is the Melbourne Cochlear Implant Clinic established by the Royal Victorian Eye & Ear Hospital and Melbourne University. First Voice member organisations across Australia specifically focus on early intervention for newborns to pre-schoolers and also provide cochlear implant programs. Other non-profit clinics working with cochlear implant patients include: Perth’s Ear Science Institute Australia, that also runs a service at the WA Institute for Deaf Education, and the newest program recently launched by the Royal Institute
Sophono’s Abutment-Free, Implantable Bone Conduction Hearing System just got even better!
for Deaf & Blind Children in Sydney. The RIDBC cochlear implant program provides on-site accommodation and travel assistance for interstate patients and uses video conferencing and webbased technologies for ongoing support.
applies once your out-of-pocket expenses reach a certain level. Depending on your taxable income, the Australian Tax Office may also rebate a small percent of your net out-of-pocket medical expenses claimed on your tax return.
Private clinics and surgeons
Choosing a device
Private clinics and surgeons may work with both public and private hospitals, but some may only have access to private hospitals. Some may bulk bill part or all of their services, but this is not typical. For private patients, surgeons and anaesthetists can charge much more than the Medicare scheduled fee resulting in your out-of-pocket expenses being as much as $5,000 plus the cost of audiological services, so it pays to discuss charges with the clinic and surgeon. Your GP may not know how certain providers bills, so do your research first and discuss who you will be referred to (some private surgeons and clinics are listed opposite). Keep in mind Medicare’s Safety Net
Providers are independent of device manufacturers and can offer all brands, but some may have preferences so you should ask if they offer a choice. Cochlear implant systems approved for use in Australia include Advanced Bionics (Harmony), Cochlear (Nucleus) and MED-EL (Concerto). Research online what each manufacturer has to offer and discuss the features with your clinic and surgeon as there is no difference in price. Also ask for the reliability statistics on any proposed device. The choice of device is often determined by your medical and audiological history, your ear anatomy and the ease of use depending on your age and lifestyle (for example, one brand’s remote control may be easier
It’s easy to see why the new Sophono Alpha 2™ system is capturing the interest of physicians and patients around the country. • No external abutment • No daily cleaning of a wound site • Dual microphone technology for clearer conversation in noisy environments • Digital input for FM systems, music players and mobile phones Sophono's uncomplicated surgical procedure combined with a thirdgeneration sound processor offers a technologically and cosmetically superior system for professionals and their patients. Its innovative approach Ð in which a removable audio processor is secured by a surgically-implanted magnet instead of a percutaneous abutment Ð TM eliminates or reduces the need for daily hygiene. The Sophono Alpha 2 System significantly improves patient comfort, maintenance, aesthetics, and quality of life. For further information: Fusion Healthcare P: 0419 708 058 E: email@example.com www.fusionhealthcare.com.au
for you to use or you may prefer a waterproof device). All manufacturers provide a 10-year warranty for the internal part of the cochlear implant. There are many people with implants older than 20 years who have no issues and new generation implants are expected to last at least 40 years or longer. For the external cochlear implant speech processor, Advanced Bionics and Cochlear give a 3-year warranty while MED-EL gives 5 years. Over time these need to be upgraded as technology advances, but how long they last often depends on how well they are looked after and how regularly they are serviced. Parts like the coil and cord only have a 12-month warranty. The bone conduction systems on the Prostheses List include Cochlear (Baha), MED-EL (Bonebridge), Oticon Medical (Ponto) and Sophono Inc (Alpha). MED-EL's Vibrant Soundbridge is the only middle ear implant.
Ongoing costs & care
Other costs to consider for a cochlear implant (in addition to audiological services) include repairs, external speech processor replacements or upgrades, spare parts and batteries. State funding doesn't support cochlear implant upgrades, repairs or consumables, but eligible Australian Hearing clients do qualify for some federal support. While Australian Hearing doesn't perform cochlear implant evaluation, surgery or programming, they do work closely with cochlear implant clinics around Australia. For anyone up to age 26, Australian Hearing will provide non-warranty repairs and maintenance, replacement
parts and batteries, plus speech processor upgrades (to ensure young people have access to the latest advances in technology). They will also replace lost or irreparably damaged speech processors. For eligible adult, disability and aged pensioners and veterans, Australian Hearing will provide batteries, parts and repairs, but not replacement processors. The Department of Veterans’ Affairs provides those eligible with processor upgrades. For bone conduction implants, Australian Hearing provides those who meet their strict criteria (for details visit www.hearingHQ.com.au) with the external sound processor, ongoing maintenance, consumable items and audiological services. To determine if you are eligible for a funded sound processor your surgeon will need to speak to an Australian Hearing audiologist. If you have private health insurance, sound processor replacements or upgrades fall under the same classification as hearing aids and are generally under your extras cover. Health funds are not required by law to cover these, so policies may differ. Some cover the full cost of a replacement or upgrade processor, while others may only cover part of the cost or not at all. Some allow upgrades every 3 years, while others only every 5 years. If you change insurers, ask if they will waive the waiting period. Most health funds require clinical evidence from your audiologist that the new technology will clearly improve your hearing performance. They also consider the age or useful life of your current sound processor based on either the warranty period or the number of years of continuous use. Cochlear implant sound processors
with Australia’s most experienced cochlear implant program
are very power hungry and use many more batteries than a hearing aid. Newer generation models come with the option of rechargeable batteries, but consider the cost to replace these every few years. If you're using disposable batteries, expect to use 2 to 3 batteries that will last around 2 to 5 days. A 6-pack of batteries can cost $5.50 to $10. Health funds don’t cover batteries or parts. Repairs after warranty can be quite expensive ($300 to $400), so consider the manufacturer’s ongoing care plan or investigate if they have an extended warranty option. Currently all three cochlear implant manufacturers provide replacement/ upgrade processors at the discounted price of $8,050 (the initial processor retail value is $11,500). This doesn't include any additional fees that may be incurred for your clinic to program the processor. For those over 26 years old and pensioners, it may be worthwhile taking out private health insurance as this would cover the replacement or upgrade cost or possibly a second implant. Using private health cover will not exclude you from other entitlements, although you may need to wait 12 months before a second implant. If you don't qualify for a free replacement processor, it is highly recommended that the external parts of implanted devices be included in your home/contents insurance as it is your responsibility if the device is lost or damaged to provide a replacement. Not all audiology clinics offer both hearing aid and cochlear implant services. If you use both devices you may have to deal with two different providers. To read "The Real Cost of Hearing Aids". visit www.hearingHQ.com.au.
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1300 658 981 firstname.lastname@example.org
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Hearing HQ Aug - Nov 2013
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Lorraine Mulley MedicAlert member since 2011 The old saying that an ‘ounce of prevention is far better than a pound of cure’ certainly rings true for New South Wales woman Lorraine Mulley, who opted to invest in a MedicAlert membership after undergoing a cochlear implant several years ago. The 53-year old mother of three and professional deaf counsellor says the Sydney Cochlear Implant Centre recommended a MedicAlert bracelet after her operation because of the risk that the device would explode if she was subject to an MRI. “Despite coming from a very strong signing deaf family I had decided to wait for more than 30 years to have a Cochlear Implant because of the experimental nature of the surgery. Now that I have become one of the 5,000 Australians to receive an implant, it is now about best managing the risks that come with that decision,” Lorraine says. “I was very worried that I might mistakenly be put through an MRI if I was ever in an accident and my family couldn't be contacted, so wearing a MedicAlert emblem offers peace of mind should the worst happen,” she says. As it turns out, Lorraine’s MedicAlert bracelet recently proved its worth after she collapsed at work when she injured her leg. “My colleagues called the ambulance and stayed with me until the crew arrived. They also made sure the ambulance officers knew that I was wearing a MedicAlert bracelet and that I am deaf,” she says. “On that occasion I had the help and support of people who knew me, but if something was to ever happen when I was alone or with strangers then I can be confident that my MedicAlert bracelet would provide life-saving information at a glance.” “And I have certainly not sacrificed fashion or fun in wearing a MedicAlert bracelet because I have a very nice gold one that I can wear on special occasions, and one that I have for everyday use.” Lorraine was Deaf Person of the Year NSW 2011-2012 and Deaf Australian of the Year nominee 2012. MedicAlert™ membership can identify you as someone living with a hearing impairment and protect you when you need it most – in an emergency. You can feel confident enjoying the things you love and live every moment to the fullest.
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column Deafining Moments Daniela Andrews, a Melbourne writer, lost her hearing to an autoimmune condition at 27. She now has two cochlear implants and two children. My life isn’t lacking comedy. I have a cheeky 2 year old. I have a raspberry-blowing 5 month old. And I have a quick-witted husband who (dad jokes aside) always makes me laugh. But I’ve recently learned of another way to add a few more laughs to the day: closed captioning on live television. Now, I personally feel that captioners do a tremendous job all-round and I’m rather grateful for their quick fingers. Their quick fingers allow me to sink into the couch after a long day and rest my “ears” by reading instead of listening. Their quick fingers mean I don’t have to ask what was just said or pick up on a sound effect or work out the mood of a song. But... their quick fingers aren’t always accurate. So, rather than feel frustrated about the errors I have decided – in the spirit of keeping life lighthearted – to laugh about them instead. And there are several ways I like to classify the errors I see. There’s the “Fell-Asleep-At-The-Wheel”, that goes something like this: ‘Victorians are set to receive a large sk;dj;dfkls by the end of this financial year.’ Huh?! A tax bill? A cash bonus? Help! Or, similarly, there’s the one I call the “Stunned Mullet”: ‘The Reserve Bank has today decided to … <captions disappear> … And now for the weather.” What about “The Lickety-Split” where you find sentences like this: ‘Australian teenagers are so obsessed with remaining wrinkle-free that they are out paying for boat rocks.’ Boat rocks, huh? (The newsreader might be laughing with me if she had any facial muscles left…) Another one I find quite funny is the “Too Much Information”: ‘Aaah … urrrrgh … grunt … oooh … eeeeee!’ This is from prime time television. My dear readers, in the world of captions, the only thing worse than a Serena Williams tennis game is a Serena Williams versus Maria Sharapova tennis game. And since this column took a turn towards Crassville with that last one, I leave you with this, the very best (or worst) captioning error I’ve ever come across. Let’s call it “The Freudian Slip” which, in this case, appeared during a Jennifer Hawkins news story: ‘… so head down to Myer this morning to see Genital Organs in the flesh’. (Snicker.) So off you go then… find the next live television show to watch, switch those captions on and prepare for a laugh. I dare you!
Hearing HQ Aug - Nov 2013
all about... Audiologists What does an Audiologist do?
Audiologists have broad responsibilities and expertise in all non-medical areas of hearing services. They have training in anatomy and physiology, hearing aids, cochlear implants, electrophysiology, acoustics, psychophysics, neurology, counselling and sign language. Many audiologists work in rehabilitation and provide a similar service to audiometrists - both perform detailed hearing tests, fit hearing aids and design rehabilitation programs for clients. But only audiologists can work in specialist areas and manage complex hearing and vestibular (dizziness and balance) issues where they provide additional diagnostic services. These may include hearing tests for babies and toddlers; auditory processing assessments; advanced physiological testing like balance tests and auditory brainstem responses; and more advanced hearing rehabilitation programs involving implantable devices like cochlear implants, bone anchored hearing aids and middle ear implants. Depending on their training, they can make recommendations on hearing aids and implants through to the need for medical or surgical assessment by an ENT specialist. They counsel families on hearing loss in infants and help teach coping and compensation skills to late-deafened adults. They help design and implement personal and industrial hearing safety programs, newborn hearing screening programs and school hearing screening programs. Some audiologists work in research as auditory scientists.
What qualifications does an Audiologist require?
Qualified audiologists have a 3- to 4-year full-time undergraduate university degree with a 2-year master’s postgraduate qualification in audiology and a minimum 12-months supervised graduate clinical internship in the workplace. The Audiological Society of Australia (ASA) is the national body that represents
Audiology is the branch of science that studies hearing, balance and related disorders.
- what's the difference?
audiologists and sets the Code of Ethics and Practice Standards for the profession. ASA awards full members who have participated in their Continuing Professional Development program with a Certificate of Clinical Practice (CCP) entitling them to use the letters MAudSA(CCP). The Australian College of Audiology (ACAud) is a professional body that represents both audiologists and audiometrists. Members are annually assessed against ACAud’s Professional
What does an Audiometrist do?
Certificate IV in Audiometry (pre 2008) or the more recent Dipolma of Hearing Device Prescription and Evaluation, plus a further 2 years training and supervision with a qualified practitioner. The diploma is available by distance education through the Open Training and Education Network or Sydney’s TAFE School of Biological Sciences. A 2-year Bachelor of Audiometry degree through the University of New England is open to students who are studying or have completed the diploma.
Competency Standards, which entitles them to use the letters MACAud, and they are required to prominently display their Certificate of Competency. While a CCP is not required to practice privately, an audiologist must renew their CCP every 2 years to be a provider of services for the Federal Government’s Office of Hearing Services; to enable consumers to receive rebates from health funds and Medicare; or to offer rehabilitation under state-based WorkCover or professional indemnity insurance. A growing number of ASA members also hold a PhD, reflecting the science and research that underpins clinical practice.
and how this may be impeding communication ability and quality of life. They clinically assess results to determine if an individual hearing rehabilitation program is required. Rehabilitation often includes prescription of hearing aids. They are also able to provide recommendations to medical practitioners for further management or assessment. Audiometrists also provide vital hearing services in rural and remote areas and in community and Aboriginal health clinics.
A diploma is required for membership to either of the two professional bodies representing qualified audiometrists - Hearing Aid Audiometrist Society of Australia (HAASA) and Australian College of Audiology (AcAud). To become a full member of HAASA or AcAud and be accredited with the Office of Hearing Services, following two years of supervision audiometrists must undergo examination of their practical and theoretical skills and knowledge. They may then be considered fully qualified, provided they can prove they meet the highest industry standards of best practice and undertake continuing professional education over a set period of time to maintain their membership.
Image courtesy of Unitron
Audiometrists are hearing care professionals who specialise in the nonmedical assessment and management of communication difficulties caused by hearing loss. This includes hearing aids, hearing protection (custom noise, musician and swim plugs), alternative listening devices, counselling and rehabilitation. They conduct hearing tests to determine if a hearing loss is present, the nature and degree of any loss,
What qualifications does an Audiometrist require?
The minimum requirement to practice as an audiometrist is a 2-year TAFE
Hearing HQ Aug - Nov 2013
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I have had an ear transplant in my right ear for two years. When I visit a restaurant or bar the background noises are so loud I struggle to hear people at my table, but I can hear oil sizzling in the a wok in the kitchen. I have tried all the recommended adjustments to no avail. Is this a common problem? Roberta Marino: I've assumed you are referring to a cochlear implant and while cochlear implants are an amazing solution, they cannot solve all hearing problems. This is especially so when background noise is involved and when the background noise is louder than what or who you want to hear. So, yes it is a common problem, but not only for people with hearing loss – people with normal hearing also can struggle to hear in very noisy situations. I’m surprised though that you can hear the oil sizzling above other background noises. Can your fellow conversational partners also hear the oil sizzling? Do they describe it as a loud-high or lowpitched sound? How close to the kitchen are you? You may have already tried some of my recommendations, but if you haven’t, it may be worth trying the following: • Change the microphone sensitivity on your external processor. If the sensitivity is lower, then there will be more emphasis on your processor picking up sounds/speech in close proximity to you rather than more distant noises/speech. • Try your noise suppression or directional microphone program (sounds as if you’ve already tried this). • Consult your audiologist who may be able to implement some programming changes to assist you in these specific situations. Perhaps decreasing the amount of high-frequency access may assist with reducing the sizzling noise (I’m assuming it’s a high-frequency noise), but may also reduce the clarity of
speech in other situations. • Visit places with good acoustics and lower ambient noise levels. When people are in a naturally noisy situation, they will speak louder to make themselves heard thereby further increasing overall noise levels. Carpeting, acoustic ceiling tiles and soft furnishings all help reduce reverberation, and background noise levels and no or very low background music also create a better listening environment. Avoid tables in thoroughfares or near entrances and kitchens. Visual cues are important too, so opt for places with good lighting and if you need glasses or contact lenses, wear them. • People who wear hearing aids or implants in both ears usually perform better in noisy situations. So consider a hearing aid for your non-implanted ear if you have sufficient residual hearing, or if you don’t, investigate the potential for a second implant. • Additional assistive listening devices can be used in conjunction with implants and hearing aids. FM systems can help reduce the effects of reduced hearing because of background noise, reverberation and distance. Ask your audiologist if this is a good option for you.
My GP has just referred me to an ENT specialist because he had trouble finding my left eardrum – he said my eardrum is no longer shiny. What does that mean? Melville da Cruz: The tympanic membrane is recognised by examining the ear with an instrument called an otoscope. It has a bright light, attached speculum and magnifying lens that allow the trained eye of your doctor or
Normal Tympanic Membrane (viewed through an otoscope)
Colleen Psarros RIDBC Co-ordinator of Cochlear Implant Research and Services
Emma Scanlan Principal Audiologist Australian Hearing
ENT surgeon to recognise the structures deeper in the ear canal. A normal ear drum gives off a reflection of light called the light reflex. If the drum or middle ear is abnormal, most commonly due to middle ear fluid or infection, the light reflex is lost and the ear drum appears dull. Of course there are other causes of loss of the light reflex (including flat batteries in the otoscope!) that need to be excluded before diagnosing the ear drum appearance as abnormal. Generally a few weeks after the middle ear condition has resolved, the drum resumes its normal shiny appearance and the light reflex returns.
I’ve been told by my private health insurer they won’t cover the cost of my child’s cochlear implant. I’ve had comprehensive cover with them for 15 years, but recently reduced to basic hospital cover as I was finding it too expensive. Is this level of cover enough to cover the cost of the cochlear implant and the external equipment? Colleen Psarros: If you have cochlear implants included in your policy cover, your health fund is required by law to cover 100% of the cost of the implant(s) and sound processor(s). Therefore, understanding your health fund policy is vital. Some private health funds will include cochlear implants in their basic hospital cover, and some won’t. Upgrading your policy to include cochlear implants may incur a waiting period before a claim can be made, but if you already had comprehensive cover you should be able to switch to a lower level of cover and not have to wait. This is something you should check with your health fund. Cochlear implants are covered under implantable prostheses, which is different from the type of cover applied to hearing aids. It’s therefore important to check your health fund policy if you think that a cochlear implant is something you
Associate Professor Melville da Cruz Ear, Nose & Throat Surgeon
might need in the future. When checking with your health fund you need to ask three basic questions: 1. Will my insurance cover the total cost of one or two cochlear implants? 2. Will my insurance cover the total cost of subsequent upgrading of my external components (sound processors)? 3. If so, how often am I eligible for an upgrade? Down the track, some health funds will only cover partial payment of an upgrade to your sound processor, and some private audiology clinics may ask you to make a payment for your appointments. Some manufacturers work very closely with the health insurance industry and with various health funds, to ensure that you receive the best entitlements possible when claiming for cochlear implant surgery and device upgrades. Your cochlear implant clinician may call upon the experts within the industry to enlist support and advocate on your behalf. But remember – please check the fine print and the product disclosure statement. You have a cooling off period when you enrol in a health fund or make changes to your existing policy, so please check everything and take the appropriate action if required. If you do have private health insurance cover for cochlear implants and go through a non-profit cochlear implant clinic that doesn’t charge a gap fee, you will not pay a single cent in out-ofpocket expenses.
Is it possible that my cochlear implant could still affect inner ear balance after 20 months - I have to be very careful moving as I easily lose my balance? Melville da Cruz: The balance system and hearing mechanisms in the inner ear are very closely associated through common inner ear fluids (perilymph and endolymph). When a cochlear implant electrode
Roberta Marino Senior Audiologist Specialist Hearing Services
is inserted into the hearing part of the inner ear (cochlea), there is usually an accompanying disturbance of the balance system. Fortunately, this disturbance is usually short-lived (a few days at most) before returning to normal. In addition, the balance system in the opposite ear, as well as your sense of vision, both have a strong role in taking over and returning the overall sense of balance to a new equilibrium. Occasionally, the balance system doesn’t fully recover following inner ear surgery, as the remaining balance in the opposite ear and the sense of vision don’t have enough reserve function to take over fully. This most commonly occurs in elderly patients or when the cochlear implant has been placed in the better balancing ear. There is no easy solution to this intrusive problem. The best advice is to maintain a vigorous (daily) exercise program and to avoid medications that may further suppress the balance functions such as Stemetil. It is recommended extra care be taken in the dark (reduced vision) or in unfamiliar or dangerous situations (heights or near moving machinery).
Hearing HQ Aug - Nov 2013
Yvonne Keane, Australia's 'Pocket Rocket', is passionate about family, community, early intervention and making a difference.
The older I get, the faster time seems to go by! Recently my son Asher turned 4. It seems like such a short time ago that I first cradled him in my arms. What struck me most, watching him whiz around in his crimson cape at his superhero birthday party, was that all the hopes and dreams I had imagined for him in his first blissful days had been realised. These were the very hopes and dreams that seemed in jeopardy the moment we received the diagnosis he was hearing impaired. This was a natural reaction, I suppose, but in hindsight I could not have been more wrong. Asher is now a happy, sociable, generous and kind little boy. And thanks to good, consistent early intervention he has age-appropriate language skills - speaking EXACTLY the same as his hearing friends. Asher’s journey so far has been full of valleys and peaks. Sometimes it has been challenging and at other times, thankfully, much easier. At his party, as I watched him lead his merry band of superhero friends around the room on some imaginary mission to save the world, I realised - he truly is a superhero!
Hearing HQ Aug - Nov 2013
Thanks to the arrival from the UK early last year of Dr Ranit De, an ENT surgeon highly experienced in hearing implant surgery, Queensland’s Darling Downs residents no longer need to travel to Brisbane for surgery. In June 2012, 73-year-old Michael Luce became the first person in Toowoomba to have a cochlear implant at St Andrew’s Hospital, and by December, Dr De had performed five more surgeries. Dr De also has a big heart. Thanks to his help, Sandy Trinham received the best Christmas gift ever, the gift of sound. The almost totally deaf Toowoomba mother, who first started to lose her hearing at age 28 due to otosclerosis, had been unable to hear for over a decade. Sandy didn’t have private health insurance, so without help, it would have been nearimpossible for her to ever get a cochlear implant with the device alone costing $25,000. “The public health system in Queensland funds cochlear implants for children. However, there is a long wait for adults,” said Dr De. The operation was the first cochlear implant performed at Toowoomba Base Hospital and one that Dr De calls “a milestone”. It was made possible by a donation of two implants from Cochlear Australia and funding from The Rotary Club of Toowoomba for the $3,000 postoperative rehabilitation program. “In August 2012, I went to Kazakhstan to conduct charity work [implant surgery] and Rotary asked me to speak about my experiences. When they heard about the ongoing costs for patients following cochlear implant surgery, they offered to help.” The Neurosensory Unit at St Andrew’s also donated their time and resources so Sandy has the audiological support she needs in the coming years.
Marea Watson with Dr Ranit De
Sandy's hearing has now improved from almost zero to more than 60%. She said it was like being reunited with an old friend when the sounds of the world around her came flooding back after so long. Definitely a pioneer, Dr De also performed Australia’s first two MED-EL Bonebridge bone conduction implants on Marea Watson and Adam Cojean in February 2013 at St Andrew's. The small implantable device was designed for people with particular types of hearing loss rather than total deafness. 35-year-old Adam is now able to hear things clearly for the first time in more than a decade and couldn’t be happier with the result. The first thing he heard was the computer mouse click. For his wife, it has been life-changing too - they have two little kids who in the past had to adapt to their dad's hearing loss, but now they will just be able to do things normally. “To have had the first procedure here at St Andrew's is certainly excellent," said hospital chief executive Ray Fairweather of the pioneering surgery and technology. "Our audiologists are up there with the best and now patients don’t have to go to Brisbane [for surgery].”
Image Marea with Dr De courtesy of Dr De
stories... PROVING THEM WRONG WHEN Dean Barton-Smith was a seven year old living in Queensland he remembers watching the Olympics on TV and asking his mum what it was all about. ‘‘She told me it was where the best athletes in the world went to compete, so I asked her if I could be one and she was very positive and said ‘there’s a first time for everything’. So that became my dream - to be the first deaf Australian Olympian." In 1992, he did just that in Barcelona when he participated in the decathlon - a two day event comprising a 100 metre sprint, long jump, shot put, high jump, 400 metre run, 110 metre high hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin and a 1500m run. And he’s been honoured for that feat, as well as for service to people who are deaf or hard of hearing through the development of sport and recreation opportunities, with a Member of the Order of Australia - General Division [in the 2013 Australia Day honour roll]. For Dean, the recognition means more than for most. All his life people had told him there were things he could not do. But he proved them wrong and this award confirms it. ‘‘It was my lifelong dream (to be an Olympian) since I was 7 and I had to wait 17 years to achieve it. But more importantly, I had a lot of people doubting me...when you get there it’s worth it.’’ The former Knox Athletics Club member and former president of Bayswater Bullets Little Athletics discovered his passion for sport at school. ‘‘My school experience wasn’t all that great because when the teacher turned her back, I couldn’t hear anything - it’s like putting a mute on the TV - so my escape was always sport. I would look
forward to lunchtime, running around...’’ An athletics coach spotted him one day and said he was ‘‘quick on his feet’’. From then, Dean decided to take the sport seriously but there was one issue: the starting gun. ‘‘I wanted to be the next Carl Lewis but I couldn’t quite hear the gun, so I was always missing out on a medal,’’ he said. Dean used two strategies to tackle the problem: either feel the vibration of the gun shot or watch the other competitors launch from the corner of his eye. But it didn’t always work out. ‘‘I could tell you countless stories of false starts and I kept running, like Forrest Gump.’’ Under the guidance of renowned pole vault coach Alan Launder, Dean smashed many records and won several medals at the Deaflympics in a variety of events. However, a disastrous turn of events at the 1994 Commonwealth Games that pushed him out of medal contention
inspired the 45-year-old to push for better starting cues for deaf people. He helped lobby for visual cues - lights - and he hopes one day the Olympic swimming and athletic events will use them. Over his career he has served on the boards of the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations, Deaf Sports Australia and the YMCA. He retired from sport in the late ‘90s, apart from a comeback in the 2005 Deaflympics. Dean was emotional when speaking about the Australia Day honour. ‘‘It’s very special to be recognised. I hope it inspires other people, especially young deaf people. You get what you put in.’’ ‘‘All of my life people said I can’t, it has to be done this way, but sometimes you have to do it differently to get the goal you want.’’ Written by Tara McGrath, Metro Media Publishing
Hearing HQ Aug - Nov 2013
books 'n blogs For more book reviews or to find a direct link to purchase these books and have them delivered to your door go to the books button at www.HearingHQ.com.au Song Without Words: Discovering My Deafness Halfway Through Life
For nearly the first decade of his career—first in New York and then Paris— Gerald Shea practiced law without knowing that he was partially deaf. Shea did not discover until he was 34 years old that the scarlet fever he contracted at age 6 had damaged his hearing in both ears and severely limited his ability to make out spoken words. High-frequency sounds, including most consonants, were virtually inaudible, so that most of what he heard were vowels communicated at low frequencies. He was also plagued by a constant buzzing that he refers to as "the locusts" and no longer experienced such natural sounds as birds singing, crickets chirping and crashing waves on the shore. "The words of most people—teachers and professors in classrooms, children in a courtyard, characters on a stage, actors in a movie, and lawyers and bankers sitting around a table—were all puzzles to be solved," Shea writes in his book. "I believed others had to solve them too but were simply better at it than I." Shea's book combines personal tale, history of deafness and an analysis of how society has dealt—or failed to deal—with those afflicted by it. It elegantly encapsulates the struggles Shea faced living in the hearing world, while saddled with a disability he was for a long time unaware of. Shea artfully weaves in what he calls "lyricals", the phrases he hears and translates when others speak to give the reader a sense of how he copes with his daily challenges. Shouting won't help, but a hearing test might As a former editor of the New York Times, Katherine Bouton is no stranger to telling a difficult story. It seems, however, the most difficult one she has ever had to pen is her story of suddenly losing her hearing in one ear. In Bouton's debut memoir Shouting Won't Help: Why I and 50 Million Other Americans - Can't Hear You she reveals the difficulties she faced learning not only to understand her hearing loss, but to accept it. Her untreated hearing loss (for nearly 30 years) affected her career, friendships and her sense of self. Bouton hopes her book will give others the confidence they need to speak more freely about their loss and to seek treatment early to avoid the emotional struggles she faced. Switched at Birth Last issue we featured Katie LeClerc and the cast of the new Fox8 TV sensation. For those of you who don't have Foxtel you can purchase individual episodes or whole seasons to download and watch on Kindle Fire, iPad, PC, PS3, Xbox and other devices. To save you wading through Amazon pages, we've added the individual link that will take you straight from our Books 'n Blogs page on www.HearingHQ.com.au to the correct Amazon page! Signs and Voices Author Zamurrad Naqvi has created a comic book with detailed insights into the deaf culture through an array of deaf characters using sign language. The series appeals to both the deaf and hearing communities. Focusing on a central theme of being different, the story echoes historical events. The research and story development took four years to complete. When the series was released it took the top spot in the Amazon UK Kindle Store for fantasy comics.
Hearing HQ Aug - Nov 2013
The Limping Chicken, an independent UK deaf news and blogs website, is edited by partially-deaf journalist and scriptwriter Charlie Swinbourne, who has also written award-winning dramas featuring deaf characters. It offers upto-date news and often very amusing views on deaf life and culture in the UK. So why the name you ask? Within hours of a BBC documentary about five deaf teenagers in which a university notetaker told a deaf student that she couldn’t take notes for the whole lecture because "my chicken is ill", deaf social networking sites were overrun by jokes, spoof images and tribute videos about her chicken. According to Charlie Swinbourne, who has written for The Guardian and BBC Online about deaf culture, as well as contributing to programs on television and radio, those words hit a nerve because they reminded deaf people everywhere of both how random and frustrating deaf life can be. "Chickengate not only revealed the common ground deafies share, but also just how connected we are online. So this site was named in honour of how a limping chicken briefly united the deaf world!" http://limpingchicken.com/
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Hearing HQ Aug - Nov 2013
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here to help Many not-for-profit organisations around Australia and government agencies provide valuable support, advice and information on hearing issues. Please visit www.hearingHQ.com.au to find out more about any of these organisations and to link directly to their websites. For an organisation to be considered for listing they must be a not-for-profit, charity or completely free service.
INFORMATION & SERVICES ACT Deafness Resource Centre - Canberra Information, referral and advocacy services T 02 6287 4393 TTY 02 6287 4394 F 02 6287 4395
The Royal Victorian Eye & Ear Hospital Cochlear Implant Clinic T 03 9929 8624 F 03 9929 8625 E email@example.com
Cora Barclay Centre - Adelaide Auditory-Verbal Therapy for 0-19 year olds T 08 8267 9200 F 08 8267 9222 Hear and Say Centres - QLD Early intervention and cochlear implants T 07 3870 2221 F 07 3870 3998
Audiological Society of Australia Inc Information on national audiological services T 03 9416 4606 F 03 9416 4607
Tinnitus SA Impartial tinnitus information and options T 1300 789 988
Australian Government Hearing Services Program Government assistance eligibility information T 1800 500 726 TTY 1800 500 496
Vicdeaf Advice and support for hard of hearing T 03 9473 1111 TTY 03 9473 1199 F 03 9473 1122
Australian Hearing Australian Government audiology clinics T 131 797 TTY 02 9412 6802 F 02 9413 3362
ADVICE & SUPPORT
RIDBC Hear The Children Centre - Sydney Early childhood intervention for hearing impaired T 1300 581 391 F 02 9871 2196
Acoustic Neuroma Association of Australia Support and information on treatment T 03 9510 1577 TTY 03 9510 3499 F 03 9510 6076
RIDBC Matilda Rose Centre - Sydney Early childhood intervention for hearing impaired T 02 9369 1423 F 02 9386 5935
Aussie Deaf Kids Online parent support and forum www.aussiedeafkids.org.au
Taralye Oral Language Centre - Melbourne Early childhood intervention & advocacy T 03 9877 1300 F 03 9877 1922
Australian Tinnitus Association (NSW) - Sydney Support, information & counselling services T 02 8382 3331 F 02 8382 3333
Telethon Speech & Hearing - Perth Early intervention program and specialist paediatric audiology services T 08 9387 9888 F 08 9387 9889
Better Health Channel VIC Govt funded health & medical information www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au Deaf Can:Do (formerly Royal SA Deaf Society) Services to SA deaf and hearing impaired T 08 8223 3335 TTY 08 8223 6530 F 08 8232 2217 Deafness Foundation Research, education & technology support T & TTY 03 9738 2909 F 03 9729 6583 Ear Science Institute Australia Implant Centre Help with ear, balance & associated disorders T 08 6380 4944 F 08 6380 4950 Guide Dogs SA.NT Adelaide based aural rehabilitation service T 1800 484 333 TTY 08 8203 8391 F 08 8203 8332 HEARnet - a better understanding of hearing loss & interactive ear diagram. www.hearnet.org.au T 03 9035 5347 Lions Hearing Clinic Free or low cost services in Perth T 08 6380 4900 F 08 6380 4901 Lions Hearing Dogs Australia Provide hearing dogs and training to recipients T 08 8388 7836 TTY 08 8388 1297 National Relay Service Helpdesk Telephone access service for hearing impaired M-F 9am-5pm, Sydney time SMS 0416 001 350 T 1800 555 660 TTY 1800 555 630 F 1800 555 690 Parents of Deaf Children - NSW Unbiased information, support and advocacy T 02 9871 3049 TTY 02 9871 3193 F 02 9871 3193 SCIC - Sydney Cochlear Implant Centre Gladesville, Newcastle, Canberra, Gosford, Port Macquarie, Lismore, Penrith T 1300 658 981 Telecommunications Disability Equipment Contact information for special phones: Telstra 1800 068 424 TTY 1800 808 981 F 1800 814 777 Optus 133 301 937 TTY 1800 500 002 The Deaf Society of NSW Information & services to NSW Deaf people T 1800 893 855 TTY 1800 893 885 F 1800 898 333 SMS 0427 741 420
Hearing HQ Aug - Nov 2013
Better Hearing Australia (BHA) Hearing advice by letter, email or in person T 1300 242 842 TTY 03 9510 3499 F 03 9510 6076 BHA Tinnitus Self Help/Support Group -TAS Support group for those with tinnitus T 03 6244 5570 CICADA Australia Inc Support for people considering cochlear implants www.cicada.org.au CICADA Queensland Support for people considering cochlear implants E firstname.lastname@example.org Deaf Children Australia Services for hearing impaired children T 1800 645 916 TTY 03 9510 7143 F 03 9525 2595 Hear For You Mentoring hearing impaired teens E email@example.com
RIDBC (Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children) Hearing and vision impaired education & services T & TTY 1300 581 391 F 02 9871 2196
The Shepherd Centre - NSW & ACT Early intervention and cochlear implants T 1800 020 030 F 02 9351 7880
ADVOCACY & ACCESS SERVICES ACT Deafness Resource Centre T 02 6287 4393 TTY 02 6287 4394 F 02 6287 4395 Arts Access Victoria/Deaf Arts Network T 03 9699 8299 TTY 03 9699 7636 F 03 9699 8868 Australian Communication Exchange (ACE) T 07 3815 7600 TTY 07 3815 7602 F 07 3815 7601 Cap that! Captioned for Learning www.capthat.com.au Deafness Council Western Australia Inc T & SMS 0488 588 863 Deafness Forum of Australia T 02 6262 7808 TTY 02 6262 7809
Meniereâ€™s Australia Dizziness & balance disorders support T 1300 368 818 F 03 9783 9208
Deaf Sports Australia T 03 9473 1191 TTY 03 9473 1154 F 03 9473 1122
Self Help for Hard of Hearing People (Aus) Inc Educational association T 02 9144 7586 F 02 9144 3936
Media Access Australia T 02 9212 6242 F 02 9212 6289
Tinnitus Association of Victoria Support group for tinnitus sufferers T 03 9770 6075
EDUCATION Can:Do 4Kids - Adelaide Programs for deaf, blind & sensory impaired kids T 08 8298 0900 TTY 08 8298 0960 F 08 8377 1933 Catherine Sullivan Centre - Sydney Early intervention for hearing impaired children T 02 9746 6942 F 02 9764 4170
NMIT Centre of Excellence Vocational Education T 03 9269 1200 F 03 9269 1484
OTHER Hearing Aid Bank - donate old hearing aids T 1300 242 842 TTY 03 9510 3499 F 03 9510 6076 Planet Ark - Find a battery recycler near you www.recyclingnearyou.com.au/batteries JobAccess Disabilities workplace solutions T 1800 464 800 TTY 1800 464 800 F 08 9388 7799
trouble hearing? trouble speaking?
you can still…
stay in touch You can still make your own phone calls at no extra cost. The National Relay Service helps you:
Calls can be made to anyone, anytime from anywhere in Australia. Calls are conﬁdential and training is FREE.
• have good phone conversations – with less misunderstanding and repetition
Find out more:
• keep in touch with family and friends.
1800 555 660 firstname.lastname@example.org
• make appointments and business calls
Enjoy the sound of life. The new Pure. Hearing at its best.
The most fully featured product in its class, Pure unifies all key elements in a virtually invisible design. The new housing makes Pure exceptionally rugged and reliable, and it’s highly advanced internal components provide industry leading performance:
Combined Fitting Range* 0 20
• • • •
60 80 100
dB SPL 120 0,125
3 4 kHz
• • •
*Combined fitting range for all receiver options.
Enhanced tinnitus noiser option. Built-in telecoil. Wireless connectivity with e2e wireless 2.0 Extended bandwidth to 12 kHz for excellent sound quality. Optimised directivity and noise reduction in 48 channels. Rechargeable battery. Conforms to the IP67 standard, making it resistant to water and dust. Extremely broad fitting range, capable of fitting up to severe hearing loss.
Life sounds brilliant.