Do you use an implantable device to hear with? Are you an Australian resident? If so, there is an opportunity to take part in some worldwide research.

(Note that this particular survey is only for Australian residents)


You will need 15 minutes to complete the survey. For each person who screens in and finishes the online portion, there is a payment of A$25.


There is a deadline of January 31st to complete the online survey, so get active now!


The first few questions are to determine whether you are a suitable participant for this research purpose.  If successful, the questionnaire continues.  At the end of the online study, participants will be asked to choose their method of payment and the email address it will be sent to. This information is only needed for payment purposes by the research company, and is NOT given to the sponsor or any third party.

Second and third stages:


Towards the end of the online study, each person is also asked if they want to be involved in the second stage, which a web chat/skype/telephone interview over the next few weeks lasting 15-25 minutes, for which there will be additional payments.  This is optional.  Only a certain number of people who do the online study will be contacted for the follow-ups.  It all works on a first come, first served basis.  This would be at a time convenient for you. 

If you wish to participate then click on the link below, or copy and paste it into your browser.

1st Cochlear Survey Link

each link has a limit of 50 respondents, so if the above link has reached its limit, here is a second link you can use:

2nd Cochlear Survey Link

Pat Mitchell, the Cicada Australia web weaver, has taken the survey and found it to be very easy and straightforward to do. Pat is a bi-lateral cochlear implantee.

This survey is being conducted by suAzio consulting, an independent, international marketing consultancy firm specializing in the life science industry.


 

Every month we publish a range of new articles covering many different subjects. Look in the separate headings under LATEST NEWS to catch up with new and interesting information, implant stories and technical advances in the world of hearing assistance.


 

Dec 2017 Express & Star News

Pat McFaddenPat McFadden, Labour MP for Wolverhampton South East, spoke during a debate in Westminster

He revealed the experiences of his constituent Lamina Lloyd, 43, of Springvale who had to give up work due to hearing loss and cannot secure a cochlear implant operation that could transform her life. Pat said in the debate: "There are many aspects to deafness, but I want to focus on one particular issue and that is the criteria for receiving cochlear implants under the NHS. My argument is simple – these criteria should be reviewed; it should be made easier to get an implant; to do so would transform the lives of those who need this technology; it would improve the lives of their families and loved ones and it would be a prudent investment because it would obviate the need for more expenditure further down the line."

Speaking of the story of Ms Lloyd, Pat said: "Until last year Lamina had a flourishing career as the manager of a local Citizens Advice Bureau. However, Lamina has Meniere’s disease which has resulted in progressive hearing loss, so much so that last year she had to give up work. She has two children who themselves have additional needs. She can no longer hear her children, who have to act as her ears. She describes her family life as having gone from being an outdoor family to one that rarely leaves the house. Lamina is an intelligent, capable outgoing person but for her, hearing loss has meant the end of her career, a deterioration in the quality of her family life and increasing isolation. To try to alleviate her condition Lamina wears the most powerful hearing aids available turned up to maximum volume, but they make little difference and give her frequent ear infections and headaches caused by feedback and squealing."

Pat hopes that by raising awareness of Ms Lloyd's story, it will highlight the importance of early assessment and the positive impact of implants. Pat added: "Even if Lamina is approved for an implant, the question has to be asked why has it taken so long and why do we put people and their families through such pain before giving them the help that could make a life changing difference?

If my constituent had been helped earlier, she might still be in a job, would not need to rely on the state for financial support and her family would not have had to share the difficulties they have all been through together. It is time for a step change in the urgency with which this issue is treated. The guidelines must be revised and it must happen quickly. NICE needs to move faster on this so that the suffering of my constituent Lamina Lloyd and the many people around the country who are in a similar position is alleviated."

Dec 2017 Huffington Post

SistersFrom left to right: Lipa, Shormila, Shipra sisters who learned how to sew and start a business through the organisation BRAC.

Walking down the street in Dhaka, Bangladesh, one can hear the chatter of school children, honking rickshaws, and, if one listens closely, the whir of sewing machines adeptly operated by two remarkable women. Shormila and Shipra are sisters, both hearing impaired, both with a story to tell. There are 16 million people with disabilities in Bangladesh, many of whom have not been given an opportunity to develop their talents. Shormila and Shipra prove what is possible when they are given a chance.

Shormila is shy and became deaf when she was eight years old. “My father struck me very hard one day,” Shormila said. “I developed a high fever and lost my ability to hear.” Her parents couldn’t afford treatment. Shormila found it increasingly difficult to cope with every day tasks. “We live on a busy road and I stopped going to school because I was scared of speeding cars when I tried to cross,” Shormila said. Shormila stopped going to school in the fifth grade. Before the accident, she had been outgoing, but quickly began to withdraw. She eventually became mute. It took years of support from her sisters for her to muster a few words. She is still dependent on her sisters when it comes to speaking with outsiders.

ShormilaShormila is a member of BRAC’s skills development program

Shipra, the younger of the two sisters, lost her hearing as a result of typhoid fever. “While sick, my mother would put mustard oil and garlic in my ear before going to sleep, but this home remedy actually ruptured my eardrum,” Shipra said. She became deaf in her right ear. As the most studious member of the family, Shipra found it difficult to concentrate in her classes. Her teacher was also not equipped to teach a child with disabilities. Shipra eventually dropped out in eighth grade. “We live on the edge of the town. Trucks from outside the city are constantly coming in. It took me time to get used to the bustle, but I was determined to go out by myself,” Shipra said. “Just because I dropped out of school did not mean that I would stop doing everyday tasks.” Shipra soon realised that society was not sensitive to the needs of people with disabilities. People would shun her, which made accessing basic services extremely difficult.

A teacher like no other

Mohammad Abu Bakar has been a tailor for 27 years. His classroom does not have any chalkboards or tables. Instead, colourful thread and bright fabric is everywhere. He is particularly proud of a sturdy pair of scissors that he inherited from his uncle. “He gave them to me after he retired,” Abu Bakar said. “He was passing on the legacy and trade that he had taught me.”
Abu Bakar runs a small shop in the Demra district of Dhaka. He developed his skill by working in other shops before he saved up enough to buy his own space. “My thriving business would not have existed if my uncle had not taught me this trade,” he said. This influential mentorship from his uncle inspired him to become a master trainer for BRAC’s skills development program.

Abu bakar

Abu Bakar is a trainer in BRAC’s skills development program

His shop is only a 10-minute rickshaw ride from Lipa, their sister, and Shormila’s house. He taught both the sisters for six months as part of the program. Abu Bakar’s shop is located in a central part of the market place, so the girls quickly learned how to interact with customers. “I was more than happy to teach the girls,” he said. “I wanted Shormila to understand that she has just as much potential as anyone else.” At first, he had a tough time teaching Shormila. “I spent a week or two pondering on how I would teach her. I soon realised that sign language would work,” he said. He created different signs for stitching, pleating, and folding. Abu Bakar became a mentor for the two sisters. He knows that he has a short time to teach the trade, but nothing makes him happier than seeing them graduate after the six-month program ends. He knows they will move on to bigger ventures, just like he did. “Lipa and Shormila still come to visit me. They tell me that I’m going to have to do the same when they finally set up their own shop, just like mine,” he said.

SistersApproximately one in ten people live with a disability in Bangladesh. Stigma and discrimination restricts them from fully participating in society and gaining employment. According to the International Labour Organisation, 80 percent of people living with disabilities in developing countries are unemployed. Even if a person with a disability does get a job, they often end up in an unregulated industry, which can be hazardous and exploitive. BRAC’s skills training for advancing resources, known as STAR, innovates on an age-old Bangladeshi apprenticeship model and integrates young people with disabilities, like Shormila and Shipra, to help them gain employment.

The training is designed for youth who have dropped out of school. Young people who face discrimination, including people with disabilities including orphans, the children of sex workers, and transgender youth, make up one out of every ten graduates. Ninety-five percent of graduates are employed after the program ends. The training program pairs students with a master craftsperson like Abu Bakar. Apprentices receive hands-on training and classes for six months.

A study by the ILO reveals that exclusion of persons with disabilities from the labor market globally results in an estimated loss of GDP of up to 7 percent. “Bangladeshi employers who have hired people with disabilities speak highly of their performance, loyalty, productivity, retention, regularity in attendance and overall workplace performance,” said the President of the Bangladesh Employers Federation, Salahuddin Khan. The biggest challenge is not in preparing people with disabilities for the job market, but in finding trainers and employers who are willing to invest in them.