UKCoD and The Ear Foundation jointly ran a successful conference in London yesterday, and the wide range of speakers covered all aspects of the latest hearing technologies.
The first contributor was Dr Sue Archbold, Chief Executive of The Ear Foundation. Sue was the teacher of the deaf of the first child in the UK to have a cochlear implant and she helped to establish The Ear Foundation in 1989. With all the latest technologies that are available, her talk set the scene for the day by posing the question “The best time to be deaf?” – she gave some of the answers, but then left the subject open for our other speakers.Brian Lamb OBE, a Public Policy consultant specialising in health and disability issues then asked whether any qualified provider would deliver access to the latest hearing technology for deaf and hard of hearing people. He covered the Health and Social Care Bill, and aspects of “Any Willing Provider” which was introduced in 2008, but hasn’t been used systematically until now.
Brian Walshe of Cochlear Europe gave an interesting overview of today’s hearing technologies, covering hearing aids, middle ear implants, bone conduction implants, cochlear implants and auditory brainstem implants. He was followed by Tim Jones, who has been a hearing aid user for 50 years and a Bone Anchored Hearing Aid user for 10 years. He gave his own BAHA experiences. Fiona Kukiewicz of MED-EL then brought us all up to date on the hybrid device Electric Acoustic Stimulation (EAS) which combines cochlear implants and residual hearing – in other words part a cochlear implant and part a hearing aid, in the same ear. Richard Hughes from Advanced Bionics concluded the morning session by helping us look to the future.