My innovation is HEAR EAR® securing clip that helps to prevent loss of BTE hearing aids and cochlear processors.
Necessity prompted me to develop HEAR EAR®. My elderly mum who lived in a care home had dementia and also was deaf/blind on her right side. She depended totally on the hearing aid in her left ear to engage in communication and to enjoy the activities she was able to participate in eg. Singing, TV/DVD, Bingo, Quiz and Movement to music
Unfortunately, she lost 4 NHS hearing aids: 2 in hospital and 2 in care homes which had a detrimental impact on her health. She was unable to follow advice and instructions which resulted in high risk of falls. She had 3 fractures which resulted in hospital admittance needing lengthy stays before discharge. During the times she was without her hearing aid it was difficult to administer her care plan because she could not hear the questions being asked. Her behaviour of moving her head around to locate where the sound was coming from, was misdiagnosed as possible infection which resulted in delayed discharge. She could wait 2-3 weeks for a replacement during which time she was socially excluded, anxious and returned to a silent world.
After loss of 4 NHS hearing aids I decided to make a securing clip to prevent the loss of her 5th hearing aid. It was only when medical staff asked me to develop the innovation because too many hearing aids are lost on wards that I conducted my own research to determine how many hearing aids were lost. The findings indicated that it was a huge problem costing the NHS many £ millions. Recent figures from Wirral CCG for 2016-2017 revealed that 1 in 10 hearing aids were for replacements costing £38,540. When these figures are extrapolated across 212 CCGs, the cost is a minimum of £8 million plus fitting time.
HEAR EAR® is used in hospitals including Royal Liverpool & Broadgreen RLBUHT and also in care homes. It is also being purchased from the website www.hearear.co.uk.
My mum is the inspiration behind HEAR EAR® because during the last 3 years of her life, she did not lose her hearing aid when she wore the securing clip which proves that it solved her problem. I am continually meeting people who are in the same position as I was in when caring for a relative and always searching for a lost hearing aid never to be found.
My mission is to introduce HEAR EAR® to all hospitals where elderly and vulnerable people lose their hearing aids on wards. I believe that they should be issued with this securing device when they attend audiology departments as part of their care package which will enable carers and medical staff to easily locate the hearing aid and to be informed that the person wears a hearing aid. Younger people may wear HEAR EAR® discreetly when pursuing activities and children can secure their cochlear processors to prevent loss/damage.
The procurement of HEAR EAR® by the NHS will avoid unnecessary expenditure which will release funds to be used in other areas of the health service.