UK Health Professionals with Hearing Loss
Deaf and hard of hearing people working and training in health professions
Hi, I have bilateral cochlear implants. Would I be able to plug on my own headphones cable that then plugs straight into my implants?
I’m not sure if you mean that you have headphones that you wear over your processors. Or that you have a cable that is the equivalent of a headphone cable: you plug it into whatever you’re listening to and the other end plugs into your implants. I think you mean the second. But either can be done. With some provisos:
Crucially, heart and lung sounds are mostly much lower frequency (ie pitch) than speech sounds. Hearing aids and implants are set up for speech. You need to show your audiologist the information at Do I need amplification? and Limitations of hearing aids and implants. Ask them whether your implants will reproduce these low frequencies.
You may need a new programme setting up on your implants for using the stethoscope.
But it’s possible that the implants aren’t able to reproduce these sounds because all the channels are for higher frequencies. (It may be worth asking the audiologist if there’s anything that could be done to move sounds to a higher frequency. I’m not sure if this is possible.)
If the implants can’t reproduce these frequencies, you must use a visual display instead. You can link the Thinklabs stethoscope to apps to do this. Information from Thinklabs is here. Or use a Cardionics Vi-Scope if you can still find one (I think they’ve been discontinued.)
Also, if you are using headphones, these must also have a good low frequency response. It’s no good your implants being set up right if the headphones aren’t transmitting the sounds properly. More information about headphones here and Thinklabs also mentions some suitable models here.
Thinklabs has a chart of options with different categories of hearing aids and implants here.
Where is this sold in the U.K.? Can it be trialled with a baha4?
I haven’t yet heard of a UK supplier but you can buy direct from Thinklabs in the US. Read about VAT and import duty-exemption and about ordering equipment from overseas.
You may be able to use it with a BAHA. If you have enough residual low frequency hearing in at least one ear (that is, you can hear low frequencies even without the BAHA) then the most reliable will be to use an amplified stethoscope such as the Thinklabs One with normal earpieces or with headphones. (Check the information here to make sure you get headphones with the right specifications.)
If your unaided low frequency hearing isn’t enough, then you may be able to use the stethoscope with your BAHA. Either with a streamer or direct audio input cable or possibly on T setting with ear hooks (neckloop probably wouldn’t give a strong enough signal). But you’d need to discuss it with your audiologist. Show them the information about frequencies of heart and lung sounds. You may need a programme setting up on the BAHA to use the low frequencies and it will depend how low the BAHA can go.
If you can’t get an audio setup, you can use the Thinklabs One with visual display.
Check with Thinklabs about a trial period. It’s likely to be a month. I’m not sure if they would pay for return shipping though. So if you’re being funded by your employer or by Access to Work, make sure they’ve agreed to cover the cost of return if it doesn’t work out for you.
Feel free to get back to me if you have more questions. Either here or use the contact form if you prefer somewhere more private.
Can the stethoscope be connected to external speakers ford real time audio display for the benefit of the students and will the sound quality be good
I expect it can and the quality would probably depend on the quality of the audio setup you use. You’ll be best off asking Thinklabs direct. There’s a contact link on their website.
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