We are a network of d/Deaf and hard of hearing health professionals who share information and support. As the site develops, it will include more practical information about strategies and equipment to enable us to work in healthcare and discussion of issues such as training and employment. This will also be relevant for our trainers, supervisors and employers, occupational health staff, audiologists, hearing therapists, ENT staff and other related professions. And you can contact me for advice and information.
Richard Webb-Stevens is a motorcycle paramedic. Deaf since childhood, he’s persevered through knock-backs and come up with solutions to barriers. He actively promotes deaf awareness and access to emergency services and health care and is an advocate for access to healthcare for deaf/HoH people.
Richard began work with the London Ambulance Service (LAS) over sixteen years ago and has been a motorcycle paramedic for eight. He will shortly be starting a secondment with London’s Air Ambulance as a Flight Paramedic which is his career ambition. I first heard about Richard on the BBC See Hear programme featuring d/Deaf and HoH health professionals in January 2015.
In an article on slfirst, Sarah Lawrence writes,
“Richard is glowing in his praise for managers and colleagues in the London Ambulance Service describing good levels of support. He puts the good relationships he has enjoyed down to 2 things. “ I have always been honest about my hearing loss,” he tells me. “That means I tell people to face me when talking to me and ask them to repeat if I did not hear or understand. The second thing I have done, is to try and come up with solutions to problems or barriers myself, rather than ask others to do it for me.”
When the LAS introduced the Genesis II radio system, Richard contacted his audiology department and the hearing aid and radio systems companies to no avail. Richard persevered and persuaded the ear mould company to make custom moulds that work successfully with the radio and aids together.
Richard actively promotes deaf awareness in the LAS, schools, clubs and other arenas. He learned sign language as an adult and as well as being able to communicate with Deaf patients, he gives emergency first aid training to Deaf groups in BSL.
Read more about Richard at slfirst.
Excellent article in the Huffington Post by Eugene Smith about Justine Durno, a medical student at Barts and the London, who is also deaf. It covers a lot of ground touching on issues deaf people face trying to access health care, issues facing deaf children and in education and some of the added value that being deaf will bring to her patients and others. If you saw her on See Hear in January, you’ll already know Justine is a very positive young lady. A real asset to the medical profession.
At last there’s an update on the FaceView Mask that Jeanne Hahne has been trying to develop for so long. She came up with the idea in 1979, while working in a burn unit, because she was unable to connect with her trauma patients through her protective mask. Communication is enhanced when patients can see more of our faces, can see us smile or share their sadness. And of course lipreading helps deaf patients and deaf healthcare staff.
Jeanne will need FDA approval and has turned to crowd sourcing to fund the final development and testing stages, aiming to have a surgical version ready in May 2015.
Read more here .
Meanwhile, don’t forget the safe DIY option I wrote about here.
For as long as I’ve been around deaf health professionals, clear face masks have been stuck “in development” (see below.) In the meantime, how about adapting equipment already readily available? In a message to the NOISE mailing list in 2005, Ian Thomson, Vascular Surgeon and Clinical Senior Lecturer at the University of Otago, wrote:
“We have been using clear masks which are designed for cleaning instruments in a theatre environment. With the addition of a standard surgical mask taped below the clear mask we have passed tests for contamination by theatre control. We have used this design for all nurses that scrub with me for the last two years and some hundreds of cases in two different hospitals with no change in wound infection rates.”
UKHPHL discussion group temporarily on hold.
Update: 23/07/2014. 5quidhost support has done wonders and we’re back in action!
Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail, MSNand Live have been tightening up their spam settings, which causes problems for legitimate groups like ours. I had a mountain of bounce messages from them yesterday. I think it means that group messages haven’t got through to anyone with these addresses since a message at about 8:25 yesterday morning. This happened a month ago and my web provider was able to change settings, so I’m getting back to them today. But I don’t know if it’s going to work. Or if it does work, whether it will keep happening.
In the meantime, I think it’s best not to send messages please as they won’t get through to a little under half the group. Thanks.
I’ve been wondering about our name. As well as not being the snappiest of names, “UK Health Professionals with Hearing Loss” isn’t how everyone would like to be described. So, what other suggestions do you have?
Lisa and I anguished over the name when we first set the group up. Both of us were fairly recently deaf so didn’t know the nuances and tensions there have been in the d/Deaf/HoH community/ies.
Three years ago, Cherry Cullen made the decision to have a cochlear implant. Since then, she’s kept the UKHPHL email group informed and entertained with stories of her progress through assessment, surgery and rehabilitation. (Makes her sound like a criminal!)
There’s no “one size fits all” solution, especially with stethoscopes. But that also goes for other equipment such as assisted listening devices that can be even more expensive. So do your best to agree a trial period with the supplier. This means you can get a full refund if you return the equipment in time,though delivery costs may not be included.
“As well as giving advice and information to disabled people and employers, Access to Work pays a grant … towards any extra employment costs that result from a disability.”
We can get some help towards costs of special equipment, which can include electronic stethoscopes and aids to help us in meetings and with telephones and pagers, and support workers such as note-takers, lip-speakers and interpreters to sign, for example.
Access to Work may fund the full cost of equipment if you apply while out of work, are about to begin a new job or if you apply within 6 weeks of starting a new job or are self-employed. In other situations, they only fund a proportion.
They will not fund in retrospect. You must apply and have an assessment before buying equipment or services.
I posted before about using live speech-to-text reporting (aka “live captioning”) in meetings, theatre and indeed anywhere we d/Deaf and hard of hearing health professionals are working. Well, how about using it to help our deaf and hard of hearing patients?
Helen Cherry, a hearing aid wearer and NHS professional herself, uses remote captioning for work meetings. Then her own experience as a patient gave Cherry the idea of using it the other way round. How about our deaf and hard of hearing patients having access to remote captioning so they can “hear” their own healthcare staff?