A trusted voice to guide difficult decisions
Patients rely on the expertise of their medical professionals to make decisions about their health. When it comes to hearing problems, medical professionals are often the first and last point of contact for many people. Ensuring medical professionals have the latest information and a strong support network is pivotal to patient success.
Timely patient referral is critical for outcomes and holistic health care
GENERAL PRACTICE CARRIES THE ONUS OF HAVING TO BE UP TO DATE IN EACH AND EVERY AREA OF SPECIALISATION OF MEDICINE
Patients look to their general practitioner for advice on all aspects of health. The world of hearing implant technology is constantly changing and the GP is not expected to be abreast of every aspect of hearing implant, but GP’s should have a strong collaborative referral network to whom they can refer patients with the reassuring knowledge that they will be given the best hearing solution – be it a hearing aid, a hearing implant, or both.
With WHO estimating the prevalence of disabling hearing loss affecting more than 230 million people globally and the recent findings that treating hearing loss reduces dementia risks factors, the need for timely referral has never been more well understood.
THE GENERAL PRACTITIONER IS REGULARLY CONFRONTED WITH HEARING-RELATED QUESTIONS SUCH AS:
Should my patient who has been struggling for years with a hearing aid now be considered for a hearing implant?
Is a hearing implant suitable for a patient of any age?
Is a hearing implant suitable for hearing loss in one ear?
Is a hearing implant still possible in the context of previous ear disease and surgery?
Will the cost of a hearing implant device be fully covered for my patient?
The answer is in fact YES to all of the above
HOW CAN I IDENTIFY IF A PATIENT MAY BE A CANDIDATE FOR A COCHLEAR IMPLANT?
The impact of hearing loss on daily life through anecdotal reports is an important precursor to identifying potential cochlear implant candidates. Common concerns identified through your case history by a patient or their family indicating they may benefit from a cochlear implant include;
limited benefit with appropriately fitted hearing aids
difficulty on the telephone
Reliance on visual cues for successful communication
Family and friends report that the patient experiences communication difficulties even with the use of amplification
Patient has family make appointments for them
Patient reports that noise significantly impacts speech perception.
The following are check list tools identifying general candidacy guidelines for use in the clinic when an assessment for an implantable hearing device should be considered. While these guidelines are broad, they effectively establish markers when clinicians should begin thinking about discussing implantable hearing devices as an effective option to improve hearing;
Surgery for hearing implants is relevant to every ear surgeon
IT IS EXPECTED BY PATIENTS THAT THEIR OTOLOGIST IS ABLE TO DELIVER OPTIMAL HEARING
This is particularly so with the full suite of hearing implants now available. All fellowship-trained otologists recognise the rapidly changing criteria for hearing implants for patients with unilateral and bilateral hearing losses. No longer mutually exclusive, the domains of routine otological surgery and hearing implant surgery are now merging.Our patients’ will regularly require surgery to address underlying ear disease (such as chronic tympano-mastoid disease, Meniere’s disease, or end-stage otosclerosis). At the same time, hearing can be restored with a hearing implant. Ear surgeons can recognise this need for our patients and provide access to the solution. We must be positioned to deliver surgery safely and successfully, be it simultaneous or staged.
Hearing Implants Australia provides the network of the most qualified hearing implants surgeons, and support for surgeons considering establishing work in this area.
SURGEONS NEED A CLEAR PATHWAY BY WHICH TO PARTNER WITH AUDIOLOGISTS
Surgery for implantable hearing devices is one of the few operations where the outcome lies beyond the technical success of surgery. A person’s success and satisfaction lies in the hands of the entire team that support them, including the counselling and care of the experienced hearing implant audiologist's with which we partner.
Hearing Implants Australia Professional Network includes qualified and experienced private audiologists, all in independent practice, as well as our in house specialists.
SURGEONS NEED TO TEAM WITH AUDIOLOGISTS FOR COCHLEAR IMPLANT CANDIDACY
Modern cochlear implantation demands that the surgeon liaises even more closely with the audiologist, sharing the care of mutual patients. There are now even more surgical considerations relating to candidacy: combined surgery, implant and electrode choice, hearing preservation, and the preservation of the capability for long-term MR imaging. Concurrently, there is the emergence of even more real world audiological considerations relating to candidacy for hearing implants. People need to consider their own lifestyle and use of connectable technologies, including the connectivity of any hearing implant with any of our patients’ concurrent and future hearing aids and accessories. Only audiologists responsible for long term audiological are in a position to support people with informed decisions in these areas.
Hearing Implants Australia recognises the need for this critical partnership between hearing implant surgeon and audiologist. With 20 years of surgical experience and industry presence, Hearing Implants Australia advocates this vital partnership between surgeon and audiologist.
Hearing Implants Australia provides medical professionals with the network of audiologists and audiometrists to best articulate a long term treatment plan for their patients
to help your patients and acquire an expedited referral please contact us directly