Cancer and my hearing 1

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Hearing

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.

In July 2012 I was admitted for my day surgery. I caught an early train as I needed to be at the hospital by 8am. After a little wondering around the hospital due to an error on my admission letter I eventually found where I needed to be. After this everything was generally straightforward. The usual checks that I hadn't eaten or drunk anything since the night before. After signing the paperwork, getting dressed in a hospital gown I had a couple of hours wait before my turn to go down to the operating theatre. I had by now become very relaxed with going in to surgery and after a brief chat with the anaethetist and being told to count to ten I was unconscious. I think that I was in surgery for about an hour or so. I woke up back in my bed a little while later and my first thought was when can I have something to eat and drink.

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