I want a full head of hearing, not half

3 08 2010


The London Metro reported yesterday that the National Health Service (NHS) pay for hymen repair operations.

You can read the news clip here.

My friend Michele fired off this letter in response and it was published today;

I’m spitting nails after reading “surge in ‘virginity repair’ ops on the NHS. This op is stressed as not being done for cultural reasons? How many other people think otherwise? I was born deaf and was offered a cochlear implant for ONE ear on the NHS as adults in the UK only get offered one and children get two (cochlear implant gives you hearing where hearing aids have failed). So today I have a half a head of hearing, but if I break both legs in an accident is the NHS only going to fix the one leg? Or one arm? If so which arm? The reason the article on the ‘viginity repair’ in today’s Metro, dated July 30, given is for ‘physical or psychological health.’ What about my health? And also all those who with profound to severe hearing loss who NEED a cochlear implant just to survive in the daily scheme of things? Everyday we dodge traffic because we have not heard vehicles/motorbikes/ even cyclists approaching – often at speed from the side of our heads that has no hearing. At work I struggle in meetings as having only half a head of hearing means I don’t hear the whole room of speakers – the list is endless… physical exhaustion and day to day psychological health doesn’t even come close.

I genuinely struggle to understand how people who have been touched by way of choice, whether by tattoos or engaging in sex with men, can get priority on the NHS – they certainly had a choice in the matter. I didn’t have a choice in being born with a severe hearing loss.

NHS expenditure for virginity restoration for one single wedding night…  and a second cochlear implant to last a lifetime – ecomomic sense needs to prevail where you would put your money. On results that can show a lifetime value, not just one night!! In addition to a lifetime paying national insurance and taxes because you can hear better and get a better job. I never knew the NHS were keen to help lie to husbands that their new wife is in fact not a virgin… Shall I start displaying physical or psychological health problems so I can get what I NEED????

Swine flu

13 05 2009

I have been wondering about the accessibility of information on swine flu to the deaf community.

Malcolm Bruce MP raised a question asking the Secretary of State for Health what provisions his Department will make to ensure that deaf and hearing-impaired people have access to the same information as hearing people in respect of the National Flu Helpline.

Dawn Primarolo (Minister of State (Public Health), Department of Health) replied:

The Swine Flu Information helpline is automated. It offers recorded information but no interaction with call handlers and is not therefore accessible to deaf or hearing impaired people. However, deaf and hearing-impaired people may access the same information through websites and a British Sign Language version of the swine flu information leaflet, available from the NHS Choices and Directgov websites from Thursday 14 May and on DVD from Wednesday 20 May.

Oh well, as long as we have an internet connection, we will be ok!
NHS : swine flu Q&A
Swine flu information leaflets in BSL
Swine flu in BSL

I like to keep checking the BBC’s outbreak map. It’s a fascinating little thing.

Deaf employment research project

14 11 2008

Message from Simeon Klein – if you can assist, please email him at simeonklein87@ yahoo.co. uk

Hi my name is Simeon Klein I am a current 3rd year student at Portsmouth University. Both my parents are deaf, you may know my Dad, Herbert Klein? He recommended this group for my research into the quality of working life and quality of communication for deaf people in employment. I’d like to discuss with the group admin if this is possible. My research consists of questionnaires which will be translated into BSL friendly English by my Dads work in the NHS, the questionnaire will be in a email sent to people.

My research is new because, it is the first to question how conditions are of deaf people in terms of their emotions and feelings, using this information a full data analysis will be conducted to view any trends or patterns developing. As this is done through my University participants details are highly confidential, and there are very strict guidelines on ethics. I hope you feel my questionnaire would not be using deaf people for scientific benefit but it is more a research into the wellbeing of deaf employees. I would be more than happy to send you a detailed analysis for the group to read and I would be more than happy to include discussion that the research brings up into my report. Finally you would be fully acknowledged in my report of your involvement.

Thank you very much for your time
Simeon Klein

Healthy Deaf Minds London Group

31 03 2008

The next meeting of the London Healthy Deaf Minds Forum will be on Wednesday 2nd April 2008 from 6.30 till 9pm.

The venue is the Small Meeting Room at Friends Meeting House, Euston Road, opposite Euston station. Tea & coffee and BSL communication support will be provided. The evening is sponsored by BBC “See Hear” so entry will be free, normally the entrance fee is £5.

This is your opportunity to tell the “See Hear” team what you think of the current series and what topics you would like to see covered in future. As with so many things it is easy to spout views, and rare to get a chance to make a difference and influence decisions, so please show your support!

In order to receive automatic emails you only need to subscribe at: healthy_deaf_minds-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

British Society for Mental Health and Deafness

Signhealth conference

19 01 2008

SignHealth is organising a one day conference for deaf people or anyone working with deaf people interested in making sure that deaf people have good health.

Date: 14th February 2008
Time: 09.30 – 16.30
Location: NCVO, Regents Wharf, 8 All Saints Street, London N1 9RL

Cost: FREE if you book in advance, £40.00 per person on the day

Conference Programme:

Chair*: Laraine Callow of Deafworks

09.30 Registration and refreshments

10.00 Introduction by the Chair, Laraine Callow

10.10 How the deaf community can work together for better health. Joanna Wootten (Deputy Chief Executive of SignHealth) will lead this interactive session.

11.00 Tea and Coffee Break

11.20 Can deaf people be nurses? Of course, they can! Samantha Birch will describe how she has trained and qualified as a deaf nurse.

12.00 Improving deaf people’s health and well being Herbert Klein & Emma Crowe of SignHealth will talk about the 3 year project called Healthy Deaf Days.

12.30 LUNCH and networking

13.30 Afternoon workshop options –

Workshop 1: Living with diabetes
Alison Veal will share her experiences.

Workshop 2: What are yoga and reflexology?
Claire Hancock, a qualified reflexologist, and Sarah Scott, a qualified Yoga teacher will answer all your questions.

Workshop 3: Living with breast cancer
Kathy Liddy will share her experiences of the disease, the NHS and other support networks.

Workshop 4: Healthy eating
Tamsin Wengraf-Townsend will be testing you to find out how much you know about calorie counting!

14.45 Tea and Coffee Break

15.05 Open Discussion – Ideas for better health. Identifying good ideas for improving deaf people’s health.

15.45 Feedback from Open Discussion facilitated by the Chair

16.30 Finish

*The Chair and all speakers are deaf

Booking form

Job Title:

Please tick your 1st and 2nd choice of workshop

Workshops 1st Choice 2nd Choice
Diabetes ( ) ( )
Yoga/Reflexology ( ) ( )
Breast Cancer ( ) ( )
Healthy Eating ( ) ( )

Although the chair and presenters are deaf, some will speak and some will be using BSL. We need to make sure that everyone can understand what is happening. Please tick your preferred communication support if you are deaf.

If you are deaf
Speech to Text ( )
BSL ( )
Other (please describe) ( )

Please tick if you are hearing and cannot understand BSL ( ) and will require an interpreter to voice over what a presenter is saying

Dietary or Other requirements ( )

The NCVO, Regents Wharf, 8 All Saints Street, London, N1 9RL centre is fully accessible for wheelchair users and close to mainline and underground stations. A map will be sent with booking confirmation.

This conference is free BUT you must complete and return this booking form and we will send you a confirmation of your booking. If you come without a confirmation of your booking, or do not turn up on the day, you will be charged a fee of £40.00.

Please return this form to:
Emma Crowe, SignHealth, 46 Oakmead Road, Balham, SW12 9SJ
or email: ecrowe@signhealth. org.uk

The Healthcare Charity for Deaf people

SignHealth used to be called Sign.

Why have we changed our name?
Mental and physical health is so closely linked that we have decided to promote better all-round health for deaf people. We have changed our name to reflect this.

Is the health of deaf people different from hearing people?
Although there has been no research in the UK, research in Linz, Austria showed that deaf people had poorer health than hearing people. We already know that 40% of profoundly deaf people in the UK experience mental health problems compared to 25% of hearing people.

How will SignHealth work to achieve better health for deaf people?

We will be:
1. Doing research in the UK into the health of deaf people. When this research is completed, this will give evidence of what work needs to be done to improve the health of deaf people.
2. Looking at how the NHS plans their services, and making sure that the NHS thinks about deaf people when they are planning how they spend their money.
3. Improving access to communication in the NHS so that Deaf people can understand their health better and take control.
4. Making sure that there are good services for Deaf people (including specialist services for people with mental health problems). To achieve this, we will need to work in partnership with deaf people, deaf organisations, health services and other charities.

If you would like to join SignHealth in improving the health care of deaf people, please look at our website http://www.signhealth.org.uk or email ecrowe@ signhealth. org.uk

*deaf in this programme is used to refer to the whole range of deafness. It should be noted that we expect that the majority of people coming to the conference will be sign language users who pride themselves on being members of a cultural and linguistic minority.

A new gathering of Deaf Alternative Practitioners

16 01 2008

Calling all deaf alternative health practitioners to an inaugural meeting.

Let’s meet!

– to network
– to share
– to explore if there is something we can do together
– to find out how we can support each other
– meet other alternative health practitioners
– discover other practices and how different people work
– share information
– share common issues
– discuss marketing ourselves

When : Sat 23 Feb (2pm-4.30pm)

Where : The Space Centre Conference Rooms, 94 Judd Street, London WC1H 9PS

http://www.thespacecentre.com (nearest station is Kings Cross)

Why not bring your business cards or information you have on your work?
Free refreshments will be provided.
£5 donation to contribute to the hire of the room would be great!
(There will be no interpreter provided)

Deaf = can’t donate blood

30 11 2007

The following is a letter from UKCOD.

To all UK Council on Deafness Members

Recently we asked you to send us details of evidence of discrimination against deaf people by the NHS. One of the cases that was sent to us was a refusal by the National Blood Service to allow deaf people to donate blood. The reasons they gave for this included: ‘Concern about understanding’ and ‘truth telling to the interpreter’ .

We have had conversations with the National Blood Service to point out that this is unacceptable. As a result they have agreed to conduct trial donor sessions for deaf people so that they can develop an interview process that meets their regulatory requirements and is accessible to deaf people.

They have asked us to identify deaf organisations that would be interested in participating in a trial donor session. If you are interested and would like further information do please get back to me.

Kind regards
Jonathan Isaac
UK Council on Deafness
Westwood Park , London Road , Little Horkesley, Colchester , CO6 4BS
Tel: 01206 274075
Text: 01206 274076
Fax: 01206 274077
Email: j.isaac@deafcouncil.org.uk
Website: http://www.deafcouncil.org.uk

UK Council on Deafness works with and for deaf organisations in the UK by providing information, advice and support and by representing the views of the sector to government and policy makers.

Membership of the Council is open to any Charity or Professional Body working in the field of deafness. The Council supports and celebrates the diversity of deaf people including Deaf, deafened, deafblind and hard of hearing people

Organisations that do not qualify for membership can affiliate to the Council in order to participate in our work. Members and Affiliates enjoy access to a range of benefits including information, networks, influence and discounts on publications and delegate fees. To find out more please contact us or visit our website at http://www.deafcouncil.org.uk

Charity Number 1038448


Are you as stunned as I am?

Discrimination? Access? Information? Awareness? Equality?

I’m so disgusted, I can’t even comment on this.

Alternative health

29 10 2007

Are there any deaf alternative health practitioners out there? We are looking for any ~ email me by posting a reply to this blogpost. If you would rather not have your name / company made public on the blog, just say and I won’t publish it.

Casualty departments are just that.

1 10 2007

I hate casualty departments almost as much as Kyle really really really really hates banks.

The last time I went to casualty was to the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading. I sat there for five hours with a fractured metatarsal before storming off home.

I had done something to my foot in karate and it had been very sore for three weeks. This time, I was fed up enough with this injury that I decided to go to casualty after work today.

At the casualty reception, I was asked for my details and for information about my injury. The nurse filled in a duplicate form and I was told to wait. The form had ‘Deaf, please shout’ written across the top. Grrr.

I waited and waited. And waited. People came and went. It was bedlam. This foreign lady sat next to me and started telling me all about her pet dog and how it would alert her to the phone and doorbell. She explained she had too much wax in her ears, she’d had it removed, and is still deaf. She wanted to know how my Hearing Dog worked for me, and why I was deaf. All in a voice loud enough to ensure everyone else in the waiting room could hear her. Her daughter then sat next to us and explained her mother is deaf and so on and so forth. Oh joy.

Smudge started getting very agitated, and these two ladies kept offering to go to Sainsbury’s and get him some dog food. No, no, he’s fine I said. The mother went to reception and came back with a biscuit for Smudge. Gawd. The conversation carried on, revolving around the mother’s inability to hear and didn’t Smudge want another biscuit?

Three hours later, I had almost lost the will to live. I was so tired from the incessant din in the waiting room, from the constant concentration on people so I could turn around every time someone came into the waiting room, so that I wouldn’t miss a doctor or nurse that entered, and trying to lipread every nurse / doctor in the hope that I would catch my name when they called it out.

I went to reception and asked if I had missed my name being called out. No…. I was supposed to hand the form in to reception, who had given me the form in the first place! Ack! They asked for my address and told me to wait. Half an hour later, a doctor called me in and I was out in five minutes – it’s a sprain that will take weeks to heal as I walk so much every day. There’s not much you can do when you’ve got a working dog!

I was NOT happy at the service I got. Reasonable adjustments for deaf people doesn’t mean writing ‘Deaf, please shout’ on the form and not giving clear instructions!

As a friend says, you wouldn’t offer a blind person a torch, so don’t offer to shout for a deaf one. Speaking normally will be fine, just make sure you’re facing me!

How to read your audiogram

17 09 2007

Have you ever been puzzled by your hearing test results?

This link explains how to read your audiogram.

It’s useful to keep your audiograms so if you change hospitals, you can show your specialist how your hearing loss has progressed. I’ve lost my hearing in large chunks and this seems to be common among my (young) deaf friends. I’ve always asked for a copy of my audiogram, sometimes they grumble and get difficult about it, but it’s my right to have a copy. It’s useful as hospitals in this country have lost all my medical records so can’t track anything beyond the last hospital I visited. Impressive, huh?!