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.
The Department for Health and the Department for Work and Pensions are asking for deaf and disabled people to respond to their latest consultation which closes on Friday this week. ‘Work, health an…
Many thanks to Limping Chicken for posting this. Unfortunately I hadn’t come across the consultation earlier. If at all possible, please read what you can of the Green Paper in the time available, if need be just the summaries, and submit a response.
Click the link above for more information about the consultation and links to the Green Paper and consultation questions.
I’m doing what I can to study the Green Paper and make a submission so you can also join our email group and give me your comments and suggestions to take into account.
I’m delighted to read on AMPHL’s website that a clear surgical face mask has received FDA approval and hit the markets there at last. There’ve been several streams of development that kept hitting road blocks, so there’s a big sigh of relief from deaf/HoH professionals in the US.
Welcome The Communicator from Safe’N’Clear!
I don’t know what this means for the UK though. I don’t know whether the UK accepts FDA approval as a proxy but am guessing there’s a whole process to go through here. So I don’t know when or even if they’re coming to the UK. But I’ve contacted the manufacturer so will let you know if I hear any good news.
Meanwhile, don’t forget there’s a safe DIY alternative.
Quick post as I want to get this leaflet online by morning. I’ve been invited to be a patient volunteer in a deaf awareness session our audiology department is running for medical students. I’ll be telling them something about my experiences and mentioning some communication strategies. Strategies for both the deaf/HoH person and the person speaking.
I won’t have time to go through strategies in detail, so I’ll wave this leaflet at them and suggest they download it from here.
Anything ordered from overseas is checked at customs. If it costs over a specified threshold, you will usually need to pay duty and VAT. At the time of writing, VAT applies to goods over £15 or £36 for gifts. And duty to goods over £135. There are some exceptions. If tax and duty are chargeable, the courier or Royal Mail or Parcel Force have to pay tax and duty and claim it back from you. So Royal Mail, Parcel Force or the courier will contact you. You will need to pay them these charges and an administration fee before they deliver the item. I’ve asked HMRC if there’s a way we can pay duty and VAT up-front so there isn’t a hold-up. Apparently not.
If your low-frequency hearing is OK, you’ll be able to hear fine with a standard stethoscope. The problem comes if you have hearing aids: it’s not always convenient to take them right out every time you need the stethoscope. But if you have behind-the-ear aids with conventional earmoulds, you can flip the moulds out quickly, leaving the aids hooked over your ears.
Admitedly, they do sometimes make a bid for freedom, especially if you have spectacles competing for over-ear space. So at the start of your working day, try toupee tape or little stickies to stick the aids to your head or ear.
“Do you have a key tip for other d/Deaf and hard of hearing health professionals?” A question I’m asked from time to time and able to answer without a moment’s thought. Because there’s one thing that I’ve found consistently makes a difference to smooth communication with my patients and colleagues. And everyone else, come to think of it! It is,
“Be up-front about your hearing …”
…about your hearing, hearing loss, hearing impairment, deafness, duff ears … whatever term you prefer. Be up-front about it. Tell people early on in the encounter.
I’m very grateful to have been invited to speak at a meeting of the London Consortium of Occupational Health Practitioners last week. This is a group of OH practitioners most of whom work in the NHS. So I was delighted to be able to talk about some of the challenges, strategies and technology we d/Deaf and hard of hearing health professionals and students come across. Perfect timing too as it coincided with Deaf Awareness Week. As ever, my difficulty was in deciding what to leave out but I do hope I gave an overview and links to resources to find out more.
I’ve known for a long time that if you’re buying equipment in the UK, that is for your sole use and needed due to a disability, you don’t have to pay VAT. Some suppliers of deafness-related equipment have a simple declaration readily available so VAT is deducted before you pay anything. (eg Connevans’ VAT information, Action On Hearing Loss shop information.)
I’ve just learned* there’s a similar set-up if you’re buying equipment overseas. Usually there’s duty to pay either via the carrier, or at customs if you’re bringing something in yourself. Someone in our email group has just passed on the news that you can make a similar declaration and won’t have to pay duty.
To qualify for exemption, HMRC states equipment must be “specially designed to give educational, employment or social help to people with physical or mental disabilities” (see HMRC ref below.) Their reply to my equiry states, “unfortunately, the VAT relief only covers equipment that is designed solely for the use by disabled people” which excludes most if not all electronic stethoscopes, “and also is to be used for your own private and domestic use – so this wouldn’t cover equipment that you use for work.” Which definitely excludes all stethoscopes as well as much other equipment. If in doubt about a specific situation, I suggest checking with HMRC.