Cancer and my hearing 1

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Following the surgery to remove my tumour I was left with conductive hearing loss in my right ear. This means that the inner ear is still working but there is no way for the sound waves to reach it. My surgery had removed most of my ear canal and the surrounding bone and left me with a large cavity that was sealed off from the inner ear. It was a small price to pay for removing the tumour but it did mean that I was hearing impaired.

As I returned to work the necessary occupational health assessment reported my need for time to adjust to single-sided hearing loss. At the same time my cancer consultant arranged a referral to an ENT surgeon to discuss my suitability for a bone-anchored hearing aid, often referred to as a BAHA. This type of conductive hearing aid captures sound and then amplifies this directly into the bone near the ear enabling the inner ear to hear. In order to work a titanium abutment has to be surgically anchored into the bone. This then requires a period of three to six months for osseointegration, the process of bone growing in and around the implant. Once this is complete the hearing aid can be loaded on to it.

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