AS WORLD Hearing Day approaches, a Bradford Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) consultant has stressed the importance of regular hearing testing.
World Hearing Day is held on 3 March each year to raise awareness on how to prevent deafness and hearing loss – as well as to promote ear and hearing care across the world.
Each year, the World Health Organization (WHO) decides the theme, which this year is ‘Hearing Care for ALL! Screen, Rehabilitate, Communicate.’ World Hearing Day 2021 will also mark the launch of the first-ever ‘World Report on Hearing.’
Consultant ENT Surgeon Professor Chris Raine MBE is part of the team at Bradford Royal Infirmary’s (BRI) hi-tech Listening for Life Centre. The Centre is home to the Yorkshire Auditory Implants Service, funded by The Ear Trust, which was set up by Prof Raine after he learned of the benefits that cochlear implants could bring.
He said: “At all stages in life, communication and good hearing health connect us to each other, our communities, and the world.
“Major causes of hearing loss include congenital or early onset childhood hearing loss, chronic middle ear infections, noise-induced hearing loss, age-related hearing loss, and ototoxic drugs that damage the inner ear.
“The impacts of hearing loss are broad and can be profound. They include problems communicating with others and delayed language development in children. Hearing loss can lead to social isolation, loneliness and frustration, particularly among older people with hearing loss. Deafness is recognised to be associated with more ill health, cognitive decline and dementia.”
Prof Raine stressed that early intervention to prevent hearing loss was vital: “Appropriate and timely interventions can make the world of difference.”
He encouraged anyone worried about their hearing to arrange a hearing test, which was available free on the NHS. Tests are available at a number of High Street pharmacies and providers. People can also see their GP, who may refer a patient to a hearing specialist (audiologist) who can do the test.
Prof Raine added that the Bradford team continued to be involved in ground-breaking work. This included running endoscopy training courses in Malawi.
A very successful new-born hearing screening service had been running since 2006, which identified children at birth in need of more in-depth hearing assessment. This could lead to cochlear implants or hearing aids.
“It is so important to have access to sound from the very beginning otherwise the hearing part of the brain does not develop. It is a case of ‘use it or lose it’,” he said.
Prof Raine added that he had also been involved in a European study showing that patients with implants fared better than those with similar hearing loss who did not have an implant.”
“Access to appropriate hearing aids is so important as it is now recognised by WHO that poor hearing contributes to a lack of education, poorer job prospects, reduced income and reduced health.
“As we approach World Hearing Day, this is the ideal opportunity for people to get their hearing checked,” he said.
Globally, 466 million people are estimated to be living with hearing loss; that’s 6.1 per cent of the world’s population. This number is expected to rise to 900 million by 2050. Today, 34 million children worldwide have deafness or hearing loss, of which 60 per cent of cases are due to preventable causes.
You can also Read about free NHS hearing tests here.
The Listening for Life Centre:
The hi-tech £2.8million Centre, based in the grounds of the BRI, opened on October 15, 2009 and is currently the only centre of its kind in Yorkshire.
Over the past 10 years it has become the home of cochlear implant technology, which transforms the lives of patients with profound deafness. Since its inception more than 1,300 people have received in excess of 2,000 implants.
During cochlear implant surgery, the surgeon places electrodes into the cochlea (the sense organ that translates sound into nerve impulses to be sent to the brain) and an electronic device called the receiver under the skin behind the ear, securing it to the skull in this area. The cochlear implants send a signal to the auditory nerve, giving patients the sensation of sound.
Patients now come from across the whole of the North of England and as far away as the Isle of Man. The youngest child to be implanted was six months old and the oldest 93.
Prof Raine was awarded his MBE for his services to the NHS and the Ear Trust charity in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours.
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Note to Editors:
- Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust:
Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is responsible for providing hospital services for the people of Bradford and communities across Yorkshire. We serve a core population of around 500,000 and provide specialist services for 1.1 million people.
Our 5,500 staff work over several sites, including Bradford Royal Infirmary, which provides the majority of inpatient services, and St Luke’s Hospital, which predominantly provides outpatient and rehabilitation services. We also manage local community hospitals at Westwood Park, Westbourne Green, and Eccleshill.
In early 2017, a new £28 million wing opened at Bradford Royal Infirmary, part of a £75m investment to improve patient care across our hospitals over a five-year period. It provides world-class facilities for elderly care, children’s services, a state-of-the-art intensive care unit with increased single-room provision and a retail concourse.
The new wing is a continuation of our work to improve patient experience after our new £2 million neonatal unit officially opened in January 2015. Our maternity services were recently shortlisted for the Royal College of Midwives’ (RCM) Midwifery Service of the Year Award, recognising excellence and innovation in the provision of maternity care.
In 2017, we also completed a £2m refurbishment of our Emergency Department (ED) as part of an ambitious vision to create a more efficient acute medicine service for the people of Bradford. It has been designed to provide a slicker and more efficient service, with faster senior clinical involvement at an early stage in the patient pathway.
As a teaching hospital, we are at the forefront of education and development in healthcare, and have an excellent reputation for research performance. We are one of the leading centres in conducting applied research in the country, particularly in quality and safety, elderly care and rehabilitation.
The Trust is home to the Bradford Institute for Health Research (BIHR) where researchers have led the development, validation and implementation of the award-winning Bradford Electronic Frailty Index (eFI) which helps calculate an elderly person’s risk of disability, impairment, falls and complications of chronic diseases, as well as their diminishing independence and capability. This is now being used by 98% of all GPs across the country.
Our award-winning Ophthalmology department is home to numerous worldwide clinical trials taking the lead in eye care research and we are one of only three sites in the United Kingdom to be enlisted in the Perioperative Enhanced Recovery Hip Fracture Care of Patients with Dementia (PERFECTED) study, which will investigate how the NHS can introduce better standards of care to improve outcomes for people with dementia.
The Trust has its own Bradford Hospitals Charity: https://bradfordhospitalscharity.org/
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