Kings Cross ENT Hospital
The assessment stage for the cochlear implant was pretty straight forward; hearing and lip-reading test to assess how much I could hear without lip-reading (A whopping 5% to no surprise!), individual in-depth discussions about the process with an audiologist, doctor and hearing therapist. Previous experiences of new audiology teams always made me anxious. I felt decisions were rushed and I didn’t have the freedom to ask questions. On several occasions, my programming was completely messed up (which led to time off work), audiologists talked while my aids were off and forgot to repeat back when I was “tuned in” again unless I asked which I should definitely not be expected to do. With most audiologists I’ve had growing up, apart from a few, I never felt included in decisions made about my hearing as a patient. Only one audiologist from my home town in Cork (Ireland) made me the centre of my hearing-aid treatment at all times. In London, communication and support just seemed to be lacking anytime I had hearing-aid appointments in the NHS.
When I walked into the Cochlear Implant Department of Kings Cross ENT, I was made feel at ease almost instantly. Each team member I met that day was very attentive towards my concerns and queries, I felt I could breathe and just be open and honest about how I was feeling with no time constraints. They all knew my entire “ear history” so I didn’t have to constantly repeat myself for each new team member. I finally had the headspace to just listen, think and feel relaxed. Even as I waited in between the appointments they had already communicated new information before I would see the next person.
They showed me the the different models I could choose from, different colours, aswell as the electrode and magnet part of the cochlear implant for inside the head and explained how it worked:
I left the hospital feeling elated, relaxed and on a much more positive note about cochlear implants. My notebook was full of answers to my questions. I felt very informed and under no pressure to have the procedure done. I was able to come and see them anytime I wanted to, drop an email or text them with my questions (wow!!) while waiting for the outcome of my assessments. I will find out if I was a suitable candidate in January 2017.