Providence Health Care has teamed up with partners, including Island Health, to launch the first remote cochlear implant (CI) mapping program for adults in British Columbia. Duncan’s Alan Holt was one of the first to test it out. (Submitted)

Providence Health Care has teamed up with partners, including Island Health, to launch the first remote cochlear implant (CI) mapping program for adults in British Columbia. Duncan’s Alan Holt was one of the first to test it out. (Submitted)

Road to hearing again takes an experimental detour for Vancouver Island man

Remote cochlear clinic offers shorter commute for patients like Duncan’s Alan Holt

Duncan’s Alan Holt holds the distinction of being one of the first patients ever to participate in the first remote cochlear implant (CI) mapping program for adults in British Columbia.

The project, a partnership between Providence Health Care and others, including Island Health, is being offered to patients so they don’t have to travel for their appointments.

Cochlear implant patients from Vancouver Island normally have to go to St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver since it is the BC/Yukon centre for CI surgery and follow-up services such as annual mapping.

The remote clinic allows them to stay closer to home.

RELATED: Masks and shields hinder Victoria deaf, hard of hearing community

RELATED: Disabled Canadians feel excluded from COVID-19 messaging

“It’s a new thing they were trying out. Normally I would go to Vancouver and you know what that entails,” Holt said. “They phoned me up because I postponed my mapping for my cochlear and the reason I did it was COVID-19. So they phoned me and said they have this experimental clinic in Victoria. I was all for it.”

Instead of what could be a 12-hour day to get to the hospital in Vancouver, Holt had a quick trip to Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital.

The project was clearly still in its infancy, and was pushed to begin early due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“They emailed me where to go. There was no reception. I was just to follow the instructions they gave me. They even gave me a shot of the door I was supposed to go in,” Holt noted. “It was pretty good. I went in and as soon as the door closed, the computer came on, and my technician, the audiologist that does the work, she greeted me and so we did a conference that way and then she directed me how to put the cable into my cochlear and I put that on and we did the testing.”

The process at the hospital in Victoria took about an hour and a half — about the same as if he were at the Vancouver hospital in person.

“Everything went easy peasy,” Holt said. “It was really good. It’s really good for the people on the Island. We have, I think it’s in the region of 170 to 180 who live on the Island, with cochlears and it’s a real hassle going to Vancouver compared to just going down to Victoria.

“In years to come, if this goes through well and good, then it will expand and they’ll do it maybe to Nanaimo General or something like that, or Duncan. Really you don’t need an audiologist over here. It was really good. I was very pleased with it.”

Admittedly not one for technology, Holt loves his implant.

“Having seen this, and the benefits for the people that have cochlears, I think it’s going to be very good in the future,” he said, noting he will have to return to Vancouver every three years for a hardware check.

“That was the stipulation they stated,” he said. “The audiologist will have to do a check on the cochlear.”

For Holt, his cochlear implant enhances his feeling of safety.

“My hearing deteriorated quite rapidly,” he said. “But with a cochlear I can be in a conversation. I was always hesitant to ride my bike because I couldn’t hear vehicles coming up behind me. Same thing with where I lived, there were no sidewalks, and I couldn’t hear anybody coming up to me in a vehicle.”

Another bonus of the cochlear implant?

“I get to hear my grandkids now,” he said. “I get to hear birds. It gives a sense of well-being. It really lifts your spirits when you can hear again.”

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.



sarah.simpson@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirusmedical devices

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Providing seniors with tablets in order to stay connected is just one of the services offered by the Lake Country Health Planning Society. (Literacy Alliance of the Shuswap Society photo)
Support helps Lake Country society reduce COVID impacts on mental health

District grants funding to Health Planning Society

Elementary students from Vernon Christian School are looking to spread some cheer through their Carnation for Seniors campaign. (VCS - Contributed)
Vernon students spread cheer through carnations

Vernon Christian School hosting carnation campaign to bring joy to seniors in town

A dose of COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

The total number of cases in the region since the pandemic began is now at 7,334

Alexa Wyatt-McCarthy, Courtney King, and Vernon North Okanagan RCMP Const. Nic Reimann, a board director for Cops for Kids, presented a new stroller and gifts Feb. 26, 2021, to a mother whose stroller was stolen in January. (RCMP)
Stolen Vernon stroller replaced in act of kindness

Fundraising efforts kickstarted by local businesswoman, backed by Vernon RCMP

A local aerial photographer's drone was stolen from his car Feb. 24. (Kyle Froud photo)
New Vernon business deflated by thieves

Aerial photographer’s drone stolen from car overnight

NorKam secondary student Karis Wilson in the outfit that got her sent home from school on Feb. 23, 2021
Black Press Media Weekly Roundup: Top headlines this week

Here are the stories that made waves in the Okanagan-Shuswap

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

Arrow Lakes Caribou Society said the new caribou pen near the Nakusp Hotsprings is close to completion. (Submitted)
Maternity caribou pen near Nakusp inches closer to fruition

While Nakusp recently approved the project’s lease, caribou captures are delayed due to COVID-19

BC Housing has proposed that the emergency winter shelter at Victory Church at 352 Winnipeg Street be extended as a shelter until March 31, 2022. It was originally intended to be open until April 1, 2021. (Jesse Day - Western News)
One more year of ‘temporary’ homeless shelter in Penticton?

BC Housing has applied to extend Victory Church as a shelter for those experiencing homelessness

The Canada Revenue Agency says there were 32 tax fraud convictions across the country between April 2019 and March 2020. (Pixabay)
Vancouver man sentenced to 29 months, fined $645K for tax evasion, forgery

Michael Sholz reportedly forged documents to support ineligible tax credits linked to homeownership

Then-Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson looks on as MLA Shirley Bond answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria. (Chad Hipolito / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. Liberal party to choose next leader in February 2022

Candidates have until Nov. 30 to declare whether they are running

Most Read