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Found 12 results
  1. News Article
    Kara Dilliway was just three years old when she came down with a common ear infection in October 2022. She recovered quickly, as was expected, but just days after the infection cleared her parents found she was struggling to hear and talk. “We’d noticed she’d just started to say yes and no to things, that’s when we thought something is going on,” says her mother Sam Dilliway, a 41-year-old community care worker from Basildon, Essex. Doctors said she could have glue ear, a common condition in children – fluid build-up had started to cause problems with her hearing, and would need draining. But what should have been a minor ailment has turned into a never-ending ordeal for the family. What was a simple case of glue ear could now leave her with hearing loss for up to two years as she awaits routine treatment. It comes after data released in January found that over 10 million people have been left on NHS waiting lists for basic ear care services. Dr Aymat says that the long-term effects of such conditions being left untreated in children can be severe. While glue ear is unlikely to leave permanent damage, there is always a small risk of permanent hearing loss. However, the developmental effects are far more likely and potentially long-lasting. Read full story Source: The Independent, 1 April 2024
  2. Content Article
    As the Cumberlege Review and Paterson Inquiry made clear, having accurate and timely data on treatments and outcomes is critical to patient safety. NHS England is working to strengthen this data by implementing a central database to collect key details of implantable devices at the time of operation. The new Outcomes and Registry Platform will bring existing registries together for the first time and introduce new registries. In a blog for the Patient Safety Commissioner website, Scott Pryde, Programme Director for NHS England’s Outcomes and Registries Programme, and Katherine Wilson, Clinical Steering Group Chair of the programme, discuss the new National Registry of Hearing Implants, a registry specifically for cochlear implants. They highlight the importance of collaboration between patients, clinicians, regulators and medical device manufacturers.
  3. News Article
    People with buildups of ear wax are being left with hearing loss and socially isolated because of an NHS “postcode lottery” in removing it, a new report claims. Ear wax removal services have declined so dramatically that 9.8 million people in England now cannot access help on the NHS, forcing some to pay a “tax on wax” for private treatment. The report, from the RNID hearing loss charity, also found that more than half of NHS commissioners are breaching official guidelines by not ensuring that all adults can access care. The RNID, formerly the Royal National Institute for Deaf People, said its “horrifying” findings highlighted the misery people who cannot get wax removed are suffering. “Ear wax buildup can cause painful and distressing symptoms – such as hearing loss, tinnitus and earache – and lead to social isolation and poor mental health,” the RNID said. “With a patchy service across England, many people are left living in silence or forced to pay for private removal,” it added. Non-NHS providers charge £50-£100 a visit to suction wax out. Older people and those who wear hearing aids are most likely to experience buildups. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 24 January 2024
  4. News Article
    Dozens more children than initially thought have come to “severe” harm following failings in audiology care, HSJ can reveal. Two more trusts have confirmed that, between them, 30 children suffered severe harm – which is defined as ”permanent or long-term harm” – after the failings. Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Foundation Trust said an external investigation had revealed 14 such cases, while Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust found 16 more after going through the same process. A total of 36 confirmed or suspected severe harm cases from paediatric audiology failings across six English trusts are now known about. I NHS England wrote to all 42 integrated care boards at the end of August, asking them to ensure the “approximately” 130 paediatric hearing services in England were running safely. Sir David Sloman, then-chief operating officer, and Dame Sue Hill, chief science officer, said the NHSE “review of these trusts has identified root causes that have led to poor service delivery and outcomes… [which include] lack of clinical governance and oversight, poor reporting of data, poor interpretation of results, poor retention of diagnostic data, and lack of accreditation.” The National Deaf Children’s Society called the speed of the NHS’s response “a scandal”. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 19 September 2023
  5. News Article
    Children have suffered severe harm at two further hospital trusts as a result of failures in paediatric audiology, HSJ has revealed. HSJ reported in July that three children at Croydon Health Service Trust may have come to “severe harm” – meaning they may have suffered permanent damage – following failures in the trust’s processes in audiology. Now East and North Hertfordshire Trust and North West Anglia Foundation Trust have also confirmed a small number of cases of severe or serious harm; while some trusts have yet to confirm findings from case reviews they have carried out. Major problems emerged earlier this year, initially in Scotland, of poor quality checks missing children with hearing problems who should have received support, and of a failure to inspect the services. NHS England ordered a review of data from the national newborn screening programme which, alongside other review work, identified six English trusts as having likely failures in their service: Croydon, East and North Herts, North West Anglia, Warrington and Halton Hospitals, North Lincolnshire and Goole, and Worcestershire Acute Hospitals. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 14 September 2023
  6. News Article
    More than a dozen families are seeking compensation following "significant failures" at NHS Lothian's hearing service for children. The health board apologised to more than 155 families after an independent investigation found serious problems diagnosing and treating hearing loss. Sophie was born partly deaf and failed repeated hearing tests for years. Her family say no help was offered by the paediatric audiology department at NHS Lothian who kept saying she would be fine. But her parents say she is not. Sophie is now seven. Her speech and language has not developed fully and is sometimes hard to understand. Her confidence has been affected. Her mum Sarah said: "They failed Sophie. You kind of trust what they were doing, you thought maybe she doesn't need hearing aids, maybe she will just catch up and now she's almost eight years old and she's still not caught up and you think 'OK, maybe there were mistakes made then'." An independent investigation by the British Academy of Audiology (BAA), published in December last year, found "significant failures" involving 155 children over nine years at NHS Lothian. Several profoundly deaf children were diagnosed too late for vital implant surgery. The health board has "apologised sincerely" to those affected. The BAA looked at more than 1,000 patient records finding "significant failures" in almost 14% of them. The BAA said it found "no evidence" that national guidelines and protocols on hearing tests for children had been followed or consistently applied "at any point since 2009". Read full story Source: BBC News, 2 March 2022
  7. Content Article
    The tinnitus decision aid is designed to help clinicians and patients work together to choose the right treatment option for each individual. People with tinnitus vary in their preferences, for example, some like to use sound, others prefer a talking therapy approach. The decision aid provides information on key points that patients need to know to make a decision. The decision aid was developed through a systematic process of reviewing evidence, gathering key questions from patients and refining the information to be readable and useable. All the approaches listed are available everywhere but may require some travel or cost to access them. This should be discussed in consultations.
  8. News Article
    Tinnitus Week 2022 is taking place from 7-13 February and the British Tinnitus Association are calling for the establishment of a Tinnitus Biobank The UK urgently needs a biobank library of human tissue samples so experts can study and find better treatments, or a cure, for "ringing in the ears", says the BTA. More than seven million adults in the UK are thought to have tinnitus. This stressful and upsetting condition of hearing whooshing, buzzing or other intensely annoying sounds with no external source is poorly understood. For some, it becomes difficult or impossible to lead a normal life. A survey by the charity, carried out in November with 2,600 people with tinnitus, suggests almost one in 10 living with the condition has experienced thoughts about suicide or self-harm in the past two years. One in three thought about their condition every hour - causing them anxiety and sadness. The BTA says other people with tinnitus share similar experiences of feeling isolated, debilitated and stressed. Malcolm Hilton, an ear, nose and throat expert at University of Exeter's Medical School, says a national biobank for tinnitus would be massively beneficial, and might reveal better ways for managing the condition. "There are many treatments available for tinnitus and it is disappointing that people still come away with the message that they have to 'learn to live with it' without support." Read full story Source: BBC News, 7 February 2022
  9. News Article
    With so many operations put on hold when the pandemic started in March, surgeon Douglas Hartley and a team of medical veterans got to work pioneering new types of protective equipment. When the coronavirus pandemic first hit the UK, thousands of surgical procedures were put on hold. For surgeons like Douglas, who performs operations on deaf children to restore their hearing, this created a significant moral dilemma – he wanted to get back into surgery to provide this vital care, but didn’t want to inadvertently catch or pass on COVID-19 in the process. Douglas regularly carries out cochlear implant surgery, a process in which a surgeon embeds an electronic device which stimulates the hearing nerve in the ear. The scientific evidence is clear that this surgery needs to be performed at the earliest opportunity so that these children can benefit from being able to hear at a vital stage in their development. But performing the surgery as normal would have put both children and surgical teams in danger. They needed to come up with another way of doing things. The team in Nottingham had to combine creativity and science to develop a novel and safe way to restart cochlear implant surgery in a matter of just a few weeks. The team used a systematic evidence-based approach to evaluate a variety of PPE for its usability and effectiveness. During simulated cochlear implant surgery, they evaluated each type of PPE across several parameters, including its effect on a surgeon’s ability to communicate, their field of vision, and their comfort. Many of the PPE options were found to substantially restrict the surgeon’s vision during operating. That rendered them unsafe for performing this sort of surgery. Instead, they found that the combination of “spoggles” and a half-face respirator mask had consistently superior performance across all aspects of clinical usability compared with all other options. During their studies, Douglas and his team also worked with a surgical product manufacturer to develop a novel drape, basically a tent, that was designed to be suspended from a microscope covering the patient’s head and torso to provide a physical barrier between the site of drilling and the rest of the team. They found that the operating tent significantly contained the droplets and prevented them from spreading around the theatre environment. They are the first – and are currently only – group in the world to develop an operating tent design that is marked for medical use. After completing our studies, we now had appropriate PPE and a protective operating tent to permit the safe restarting of cochlear implant surgery during the pandemic. These recommendations were rapidly disseminated internationally via webinars and journal publications and quickly adopted as standard patient care by Nottingham University NHS Foundation Trust and, subsequently, embraced in other departments in the UK and across the world. Read full story Source: The Independent, 22 October 2020
  10. News Article
    A 45-year-old British man has been left with permanent hearing loss after developing COVID-19. UK doctors say it is the first such case they have seen linked to the pandemic coronavirus. Although rare, sudden hearing loss can follow other viral infections, such as flu. The ear-nose-and-throat experts told BMJ Case Reports journal steroid drugs could help avoid this damage if given early enough. The patient, who has asthma, had been admitted to a London hospital with COVID-19 symptoms and transferred to intensive care after struggling to breathe. Tests confirmed he had coronavirus and he was put on a ventilator machine. He also needed various drugs and a blood transfusion before beginning to recover and coming off the ventilator 30 days later. A week after the breathing tube was removed and he left intensive care, he noticed tinnitus (a ringing or buzzing noise) followed by sudden hearing loss in his left ear. A hearing test suggested the loss was linked to damage to the hearing nerve, the middle ear, or both, rather than inflammation or a blockage to the ear canal. Doctors could find no explanations for his hearing problem, other than his recent COVID-19 illness. They gave him steroid tablets as well as injections into the ear, which helped a little, but he has some irreversible hearing loss. Read full story Source: BBC News, 14 October 2020
  11. Content Article
    Clinical governance is the system through which NHS organisations are accountable for continuously improving the quality of their services and safeguarding high standards of care by creating an environment in which clinical excellence will flourish. Clinical governance encompasses quality assurance, quality improvement and risk and incident management. These guidelines cover responsibilities, programme standards and performance monitoring, quality assurance, quality improvement, and risk and incident management.
  12. Content Article
    Babies and young children (under five years) can suffer serious injury if they ingest coin/button batteries or poke them into their nostrils or ears. While the larger lithium batteries have the greatest potential to cause harm, including death, the smaller zinc–air batteries, used in hearing aids, cochlear implants, bone-anchored hearing aids (BAHA) and similar equipment, still present a significant risk. This National Patient Safety Alert requires all organisations supplying NHS-funded hearing aids to ensure those issued to babies and children under five years of age have secure battery compartments. Where hearing aids are issued to older children and adults, organisations are required to consider the need for a secure battery compartment for anyone living with young children and babies, or with a person with additional risk factors, such as those with a significant learning disability, dementia or other cognitive or sensory impairment.
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