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Hear & Now events, Derry & Belfast, November & December
21/08/2014

Join us for our ‘Hear & Now’ events to find out how you can make living with hearing loss easier.

There will be two opportunities to come along and meet Hearing Link:

Friday 7th November
BEST WESTERN PLUS Whitehorse Hotel, Derry/Londonderry

and

Tuesday 9th December
Titanic Belfast, Belfast

There will be inspiring first-hand stories, valuable resources, expert speakers & advice, volunteer activities as well as a range of information stands.

Contact us helpdesk@hearinglink.org or tel/text 0300 111 1113 to find out more.

More details to follow soon……..

Adult Deafness conference, October 2014. The real cost of adult hearing loss: Can we afford to ignore it?
21/08/2014

Tuesday 14 October 2014: 09:30 – 16:00.

Central Hall Westminster, London, UK. Storey’s Gate, Westminster, LONDON SW1H 9NH.

Following on from our highly successful and well attended conference last year, the Ear Foundation invite you to this timely conference on the real cost of adult hearing loss.

With a growing aging population, expecting to work longer and live full lives, communication becomes ever more important. Hearing loss affects a significant proportion of the adult population, but is linked with isolation, depression, dementia and higher unemployment rates.

Today’s hearing technologies can address this – why is hearing loss under recognised by the public, why is access to and use of these technologies not higher? Can we change the political will to move hearing loss up the agenda? And what are the costs to society of NOT doing anything?

This one day conference will explore:

  • The user perspective on the costs and impact of hearing loss
  • The health economic perspective on adult hearing los
  • The current public health perspective
  • Adult screening: the next steps
  • More effective funding arrangements
  • Associated conditions with adult hearing loss
  • The latest research outcomes from cochlear implantation in adults
  • Differing service delivery models

Speakers confirmed: Jackie Ashley, Sue Archbold, Will Brassington (BAA) Paul Breckell (AoHL), Huw Cooper (BSA) Barry Downes (BSHAA) Lorraine Gailey, Lilian Greenwood MP, Laurence Knowles, Brian Lamb, Stephen Lloyd MP, Ciaran O’Neill, Chris Raine (BCIG), Krishnan Ramdoo, Darren Savage, Donna Sorkin, David Strachan, Ruth Thomsen, Deborah Vickers.

Registration:

  • £125 standard professional fee
  • £65 Hearing impaired / non-professional fee

For more information and to sign up, visit the Ear Foundation website.

Monitor's review into choice of adult hearing loss services
21/08/2014

In July 2014 Monitor launched a review into choice of adult hearing loss services examining how having a choice of NHS hearing loss services impacts patients.
 
Through an online survey Monitor are asking patients about their experiences. Monitor is also seeking the views of GPs, providers and commissioners about the operation of arrangements which allow any qualified provider to supply these services.

Monitor will share the findings with commissioners to help them make good decisions for patients when buying services in future.

Hundreds of patients have already responded and Monitor would like more patients and patient representative groups to do the same.

The survey is available on Monitor’s website. The survey closes on 4 September.

Making health and social care information accessible
21/08/2014

Launch of consultation on the draft accessible information standard

NHS England has committed to the development and implementation of a new ‘accessible information standard.’

The standard aims to establish a clear and consistent framework, and provide direction to the health and adult social care system, such that disabled patients, service users, carers and parents receive accessible information (such as correspondence in easy read, braille or via email) and communication support (such as a British Sign Language interpreter).
 
Following engagement activity to inform the development of the standard, a consultation has been launched. People with an interest in accessible information and those who will be required to implement the standard are invited to comment on the draft standard. This includes patients, service users and carers, health and care professionals and organisations, voluntary organisations, patient groups and communication professionals.

Please read the consultation document and tell us your views using our online survey, or visit our website to access information about the draft standard and the questions in an alternative format.

More information is available at www.england.nhs.uk/accessibleinfo

The consultation closes on 9th November 2014. 

Conference on thyroid disorders
20/08/2014

People who have hearing loss as a consequence of hypothyroidism are invited to attend a conference run by Thyroid UK. The event will feature Dr Chris Steele, the resident doctor of TV’s This Morning programme.

The event will be held in the National Motorcycle Museum Conference Centre in Solihull, West Midlands. For more information and tickets prices, go to: www.thyroiduk.org.uk/tuk/conference_2014/conference.html

Deaf News: NHS consulting on new communication rules for deaf patients
18/08/2014

NHS England have revealed this week that they are consulting on a range of measures to firstly take account of patient’s communication needs and then take steps to provide information to patients in the most appropriate way. If adopted, the ‘Accessible Information Standard’ will mean hospitals and GPs must provide communication support like sign language interpreters or speech to text reporting.

During the winter, NHS England received over 1200 submissions from patients to help develop the standard and now patients and organisations are being asked to give feedback on the proposals; a move that has been welcomed by deaf health campaigners after a succession of deaf health horror stories over the past 18-months.

Sian Balsom, manager of Healthwatch York, who have been at the forefront of campaigning for improvements in NHS communication for deaf patients, said: “We’re delighted that this is now being looked at nationally – a consultation on this is long overdue. We are also pleased to have played a part in highlighting the overwhelming evidence that Deaf people who use British Sign Language are left without access to health and social care services.”

Matt Dixon, the son of a deaf man from York who was forced to tell his own dad he was going to die, also welcomed the news. Mr Dixon has been at the centre of the campaign for improved access to healthcare for deaf people following the death of his father, Philip.

More from NHS England.

Music to your ears?
18/08/2014

Many people listen to loud music without realizing that this can affect their hearing. This could lead to difficulties in understanding speech during age-related hearing loss which affects up to half of people over the age of 65.
 
New research led by the University of Leicester has examined the cellular mechanisms that underlie hearing loss and tinnitus triggered by exposure to loud sound.
 
It has demonstrated that physical changes in myelin itself -the coating of the auditory nerve carrying sound signals to the brain – affect our ability to hear.
 
Dr Martine Hamann, Lecturer in Neurosciences at the University of Leicester, said: “People who suffer from hearing loss have difficulties in understanding speech, particularly when the environment is noisy and when other people are talking nearby.
 
“Understanding speech relies on fast transmission of auditory signals. Therefore it is important to understand how the speed of signal transmission gets decreased during hearing loss. Understanding these underlying phenomena means that it could be possible to find  medicines to improve auditory perception, specifically in noisy backgrounds."

More from the University of Leicester.

Twin hearing study helps discover gene that influences hearing ability
18/08/2014

The largest ever genome wide association study on hearing ability  has identified the salt-inducible kinase 3 (SIK3) gene as a key influencer in how well we can hear, particularly at high frequencies. This significant new finding by King's College London, co-funded by charities Action on Hearing Loss and Age UK, increases the understanding of the causes of hearing loss, which affects 10 million people in the UK and could lead to future treatments.

 The study involved 4,939 adults from across Europe, including the G-EAR consortium and a group of 1,022 volunteers from TwinsUK. Researchers looked for tiny changes in their genomes that correlated with their hearing ability, finding a single change in the gene SIK3. SIK3 protein was then shown to be present in the cochlea of mice, which is consistent with the gene being involved in hearing.

 Dr Frances Williams, who led the research, said, “Hearing loss in adults is a complex condition involving both genetic and environmental factors, but we still know very little about the genes involved which is why this research is so important.”

Dr Ralph Holme, Head of Biomedical Research at Action on Hearing Loss, the only UK charity dedicated to funding biomedical research into hearing loss, said, “Hearing Loss is a hidden health condition that can isolate people from friends and family, eroding their quality of life.

“By funding research, such as the study led by King's College London, to understand why people lose their hearing, we believe that treatments and a cure could be possible within our lifetime.”

More from Hearing Times.

North Staffordshire patients angry at proposed hearing aids cuts
18/08/2014

Patients have hit out at plans to stop funding hearing aids for deaf people.

North Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is considering cutting funding for devices for those developing mild to moderate hearing loss to save £1.2 million.

Now volunteers and members of the Action on Hearing Loss charity are demanding the CCG reconsiders the proposal.

They say it will leave many people feeling isolated and could cause other health problems such as dementia.

Sue Harper, community support officer for Action on Hearing Loss said: "What the health service is considering is terrible and they say it's because not as many people are using hearing aids. The thing with aids is that people have to get used to them and be educated on how to use them which is what we do at the drop in.

"Research has shown that people with hearing loss can become socially isolated and stop mixing with other people. If the NHS doesn't provide a hearing aid then this could lead to more dementia cases which would be more of a burden on the health service."

More on this story from the Sentinel newspaper.

A sticky problem: Are cotton buds causing your deafness?
18/08/2014

Anna May Mangan writes in the Express ... Not so long ago I feared I was losing my hearing. I felt as though I had ping pong balls stuck in my ears and I constantly heard irritating clicking noises. So I visited my GP and told her that I thought I was going deaf.

Using an otoscope she checked inside both ears and saw they were completely blocked with a build up of earwax.

I was amazed. I was certain I had squeaky clean ears. After all, I used cotton buds daily to clean them. However Mr Michael Wareing, consultant ear, nose and throat surgeon at The Royal London Hospital, counsels against such instruments.

"Cotton buds rarely help clean ears and may cause more serious problems than just impacting the wax," he says. "You can damage the eardrum and the delicate bones of the middle ear. I would advise against putting anything smaller than your elbow in your ear."

Wax is our ear's best friend: made up of cerumen and sebum it ferries out dirt and dust from the ear canal and acts as nature's flypaper to keep out creepy crawlies.

More on this story from the Express newspaper.

iPods to ear pods: smartphones are supercharging hearing aids
18/08/2014

Given that already one in six UK-dwellers already has some form of hearing loss (and a third of those are of working age) and the number is only going to increase to 14.5 million in 2031 (according to Action on Hearing Loss) the need for better hearing aids has never been higher.

Solutions are now arriving, and are being hugely enhanced by connection to the mobile phone, with GN ReSound's LiNX and Starkey's Halo a new breed of hyper-connected, confirmed 'Made for iPhone' hearing aids.

"The market for hearing aids is growing," Mohammed Qasim Shiraz, UK product manager for GN ReSound, told TechRadar. "Before it was mostly over 65 year-olds, but now the digital market is below 65; children are being fitted with hearing aids within the first few months being born."

The amount of hearing aids being used in people of working age, combined with an increase of the average age of the smartphone user, means the time has finally come to integrate the two technologies.

More on this story.

Cilla Black opens up on hearing loss
28/07/2014

National treasure and host of over 500 TV shows, Cilla Black has revealed her personal battle with hearing loss. She blames her time spent working as a coat check girl in Liverpool's famous Cavern Club for her hearing impairment. 

Cilla, who has surgically implanted hearing aids, told The Mail on Sunday: ‘I blame the Cavern. All those years in a place with no proper acoustics, I think it may have done some damage.’

‘I think it's been a gradual thing... I didn't actually realise how bad it had got until I was with a friend in Barbados and I said to her, ''Why are you whispering?'' She said to me, ''Cilla I am not whispering, it is you who has a hearing problem.''

More on this story.

Deaf workers accused of 'new whiplash' claims in insurance fraud
28/07/2014

Compensation claims for industrial deafness have risen by two thirds over the past two years, according to insurance and legal experts. Despite the increase, however, only one in 10 cases are being paid out amid claims of widespread fraud. 

An estimated 80,000 claims were made last year, compared with 55,000 in 2012, according to the Institute of Actuaries. With only 10 per cent successfully receiving payouts, Industrial Deafness cases have been dubbed "the new whiplash" by some insurers.

AXA insurance had more claims for industrial deafness than any other type of workplace injury or illness in 2012, at a cost of £26m. Aviva, one of Britain's largest insurance companies, is said to reject 85 per cent of new claims, stating that "the vast majority of these claims are fraudulent". But there is mounting concern the high number of alleged false claims may have a negative effect on those suffering from genuine hearing loss.

Sir Malcolm Bruce, MP and Vice Chair of the UK Parliamentary Group on Deafness, said: "There is certainly a danger for those affected by hearing loss to be swept up by the no-win no-fee promises from injury-based law firms, but it is important to stress that sufferers should seek help and advice from the NHS, who can provide the right support."

More from the Independent.

Will Brassington: People need to consider hearing aids
28/07/2014

Will Brassington, head of audiology at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust – and president of the British Academy of Audiology – says people need to change their views on hearing aids ...

'How many people do you know with hearing loss? Chances are it could be more than you think. I have recently been involved in writing a House of Lords' commission report on hearing loss which looked at the scale of hearing problems in the UK. The figures it uncovered are striking.

There are an estimated ten million people in the UK with hearing loss – 16 per cent of the population. But by 2031 this is expected to rise to 14 million, or 20per cent.

Of those living with hearing loss today, six million could benefit from a hearing aid, yet only two million have them.

Aside from all the frustrating conversations with your partner, awkward chats in the pub and missed opportunities at work, the long-term impact of hearing loss on physical and mental health is an issue we can no longer ignore.

There are evidenced links between hearing loss and dementia, so early identification and management of hearing loss is crucial. Despite this, we found that, on average, it takes people ten years to seek help from the point when they first notice a problem with their hearing.'

Read more from Will on this issue. Nottingham Post.

Legion urges hearing loss support
28/07/2014

The Royal British Legion is urging the Government to do more to help veterans and service personnel with hearing problems after a report revealed that those under the age of 75 were three-and-a- half times more likely than the general population to report problems with their hearing.

In the wake of the report called Lost Voices, the legion has called for the Government to provide better support and recognition for members of the armed forces and veterans with hearing problems caused by military service.

The newly-published research found that veterans under the age of 75 were three-and-a-half times more likely than the general population to report problems with their hearing. 

The report, produced by the Legion in collaboration with the Ear Institute at University College London, Action on Hearing Loss and the British Tinnitus Association, looked into hearing loss and tinnitus - ringing or buzzing in the ears - and makes a number of recommendations for Government. 

More this story from the Belfast Telegraph.

Are you sensitive to sounds? Article and survey
24/07/2014

While many people can tune out the sounds of daily life most of the time, others can have strong emotional and physical reactions to sounds.

This experience is known as sound sensitivity and can take several forms including conditions such as tinnitus, hyperacusis, misophonia, noise annoyance, and phonophobia.

If you are sensitive to sounds, a research project from the University of Melbourne, Australia would like you to participate in their online survey.

Thank you for reading the article and taking part in the survey.

Research exploring how choice is working in NHS adult hearing services
17/07/2014

This research project examines the extent to which patients in England benefit from having a choice of NHS hearing loss services.

As part of this research project, Monitor is seeking views from patients, patient representative groups, General Practitioners (GPs), healthcare providers and commissioners on their experiences of adult hearing services.

The quickest and easiest way to share your views is to complete this online survey,

Many thanks.

Torchwood star John Barrowman says being deaf made him feel 'invisible'
11/07/2014

TV star John Barrowman, best known for his role as Captain Jack Harkness in Torchwood, agreed to go ‘deaf’ for the day as part of a filmed experiment so he could understand more the difficulties that deaf people face.

Gel moulds were inserted into his ears leaving him with a dramatic 60 per cent hearing loss. He then attempted to go about his daily routine, but found the experience significantly tougher than expected.

“I didn’t realise how challenging deafness would be. I was extremely anxious when walking down the street and crossing the road, as I couldn’t hear busy traffic or the sounds of footsteps walking behind me,” he said.

More on this story.

Commission on Hearing Loss: Final Report
10/07/2014

There is an "urgent need" for hearing loss to be detected earlier as the number of people affected is set to soar, a new report suggests.

An estimated 10 million people suffer from hearing loss in the UK at present but by 2031 as many as 14.1 million people will struggle with hearing, according to a report from the think tank International Longevity Centre-UK (ILC-UK).

The authors said that more must be done to detect problems earlier.

They also said that ministers must publish an action plan on how the Government plans to address hearing loss.

"Since the 1990s there has been a steady rise in the number of people with hearing loss and this is only set to get worse - if we look into the future, there will be more older people and unfortunately many of them will experience hearing loss," said Baroness Greengross, chief executive of the ILC-UK.

"If we consider that while loud rock music and festivals may have contributed to hearing loss among the baby-boomers, iPod and other such devices may well pose an even greater danger to the next generation."

The news comes as it emerged that one local health authority is considering whether or not to continue providing hearing aids for all patients on the NHS.

North Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is running a consultation on whether or not to stop providing hearing aids for adults with mild to moderate age-related hearing loss.

More on this from Yahoo News.

Read the Commission on Hearing Loss: Final Report, published by the International Longevity Centre-UK.

New Funding Boosts Tinnitus Research
09/07/2014

UK biotechnology company Autifony Thereputics has been awarded £2.2 million by the government’s innovation agency to develop a new tinnitus drug.

Autifony Therapeutics, a UK-based biotechnology company, has announced that it has been awarded funding of £2.2 million by the UK government’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), to support a Phase 2 clinical trial in tinnitus patients of its new lead compound AUT00063.

The clinical trial which is planned to start later in the year, will be carried out in the UK in collaboration with The University of Nottingham and National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Nottingham Hearing Biomedical Research Unit (BRU).

More.

Call for action on hearing loss
07/07/2014

There is an "urgent need" for hearing loss to be detected earlier as the number of people affected is set to soar, a new report suggests.

An estimated 10 million people suffer from hearing loss in the UK at present but by 2031 as many as 14.1 million people will struggle with hearing, according to a report from the think tank International Longevity Centre-UK (ILC-UK).

The authors said that more must be done to detect problems earlier.

They also said that ministers must publish an action plan on how the Government plans to address hearing loss.

"Since the 1990s there has been a steady rise in the number of people with hearing loss and this is only set to get worse - if we look into the future, there will be more older people and unfortunately many of them will experience hearing loss," said Baroness Greengross, chief executive of the ILC-UK.

More on this story.

UK Health Professionals With Hearing Loss
03/07/2014

... is a network of d/Deaf and hard of hearing health professionals who share information and support.

As their website develops, it will include more practical information about strategies and equipment to enable health professionals with hearing loss to work in healthcare and discussion of issues such as training and employment.

This will also be relevant for trainers, supervisors and employers, occupational health staff, audiologists, hearing therapists, ENT staff and other related professions.

Check out their website.

Hearing in Noise Conference, Saturday 11 October, West Sussex
28/05/2014

Bookings are now being taken for our joint autumn conference event that will be held in West Sussex in October.

Hearing Link is hosting this worthwhile event in partnership with fellow hearing loss charity Action for Deafness.   It is a good opportunity for people with hearing loss and their families, professionals, suppliers and service providers to share views, knowledge and information.

Titled ‘Hearing in Noise’, the conference will include interesting presentations from experts, as well as practical and informative workshops designed to increase understanding of why hearing in noise is difficult for hearing aid users. The conference will also look at ways in which this can be improved.

Tickets can be purchased via our website on http://www.actionfordeafness.org.uk/support/events/hearing-in-noise-conference/

or directly through eventbrite http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/action-for-deafness-hearing-link-joint-conference-hearing-in-noise-tickets-11720204447 

Any problems please email info@actionfordeafness.org.uk, or call 01444 415582.

Hearing Link survey: How can hearing loss be easier to manage?
28/01/2014

You can help shape the services that Hearing Link offers and you can help us to understand more about what matters to you by completing our new survey.

The results will be powerful in influencing our thinking and our actions so please take some time to fill it in. Your views count.

We want to gather as much feedback as possible by the end of February 2014. Many thanks for your involvement.

Please complete the survey here.

InteRACT at the Royal Academy, London
14/11/2013

InteRAct events for deaf, deafened and hard of hearing visitors will continue throughout the year involving a variety of talks and tours for main shows with lipspeaking support.

Either book your tickets here http://www.royalacademy.org.uk/events/talks/ or purchase them at the ticket desk as you arrive on the day.

Walks & talks for lipreaders in London
01/11/2013

Programme of walks in 2014.

  • June 28 Bentley Priory Battle of Britain Museum, Stanmore, Middx
  • July 20th Brompton Cemetery
  • September 21st Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
  • November 23rd Passport to Pimlico & Tate Britain

Contact lynne.dubin@virgin.net for further information. 

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The Limping Chicken

UK news website - Opinion, Features, Secret Deafie, Deaf Dad

Hearing Times

Hearing Times are pleased to announce the launch of their new website, which will offer deaf and hard of hearing news, features and comment, updated daily. There are many features including local, national and international news, BSL video, and sections for arts, literature, health, education and product reviews.

www.hearingtimes.co.uk  

 

Emergency SMS Service

Emergency SOS for people with hearing loss

This service allows deaf, hard of hearing and speech impaired people in the UK to send a SMS text message to the UK 999 service where it will be passed to the police, ambulance, fire rescue or coastguard. It costs nothing to register for this service. 

Here is the web link http://www.emergencysms.org.uk/

News in Scotland 

Hearing Link Registered Charity Number 264809 Registered Charity Number in Scotland SC037688