Medway NHS Foundation Trust is now delivering an exciting and innovative new form of treatment to help improve the quality of hearing and comfort for patients with hearing problems.
In what is a landmark development for Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) clinical services in Kent, patients with significant hearing loss could now benefit from the fitting of a hidden bone-anchored hearing aid – a device that attaches to a screw and magnetic plate inserted underneath their skin, and is invisible to the human eye.
In what is a relatively straightforward procedure, ENT experts at Medway Maritime Hospital will attach the bone-anchored hearing aid to a magnetic plate, which is attached to the patient’s skull.
In the past, patients would have to undergo a procedure, in which a titanium screw is drilled into their skull for the hearing aid to be attached onto. This meant the titanium screw would remain in a protruding position, significantly raising the chances of the patient’s skin becoming infected.
As a result of the skin infection, patients would invariably remove their hearing aid and endure periods of complete hearing loss, and isolation from friends and family.
Professor Rahul Kanegaonkar, ENT Consultant at Medway NHS Foundation Trust said: “This is a very exciting development for those patients who have been unable to use conventional hearing aids in the past due to their skin or ear becoming infected.
“The benefits of using bone-anchored hearing aids are twofold: patients who are assessed as being suitable can look forward to a significantly improved standard of hearing to help improve their overall quality of life, while also ensuring they are no longer prone to skin and ear infections – the very thing that hinders them from wearing a hearing aid in the first place.”
Michael Wilson was one of the first patients to benefit from the use of a bone-anchored hearing aid. The 58 year old carpenter from Chatham said: “I lost my hearing at the young age of 18, so I’ve suffered with hearing loss for 40 years. When I met with Professor Kanegaonkar for a consultation last year, he happened to mention that I might be suitable for this new treatment.
“I jumped at the chance and went ahead with the procedure. I couldn’t be happier to tell you the truth, as it has completely transformed my hearing. I can now hear people when I’m at work or out for dinner with family and friends. It also means that I don’t have an ugly screw sticking out at the back of my skull.”