Last year's patient lecture

Imagine your life without hearing pretty much all the sounds around you. What would that be like? How can you easily communicate with the world around you? How can you safely participate in traffic? And how can you listen to your favourite music?  

Those are the kind of challenges people with massive hearing loss face daily. They lost their hearing sense as a result of various diseases or disorders. For some forms of hearing loss and deafness, a cochlear implant (CI) may offer some solutions. This happens because the CI takes over the function of the sensory cells in a damaged inner ear and directly electrically stimulates the intact auditory nerve. 

In young children, the consequences of deafness and severe hearing impairment are far-reaching. After all, hearing is essential for the development of spoken language. For people who have been deaf from a very young age, communication via sign language therefore plays an important role. People who have become deaf since childhood have already learned the spoken language, so they often communicate through speech and speech impediments, possibly with visual aids or hearing aids. If children or adults are barely able to perceive spoken language despite the help of hearing aids and hearing training, a cochlear implant can offer a solution. 

In this lecture, we introduced Joke Veltman. She gradually lost her hearing due to a hereditary condition in her mother’s family. At the end of 2012, her hearing almost completely disappeared and since August 2013 she lives with a cochlear implant. Before the onset of her hearing loss, she graduated from the Conservatory of Amsterdam. She studied piano and, after graduating, also gave piano lessons and lectures on music. Music is her passion and she had to relearn how to experience it after receiving her cochlear implant. She wanted to share this with other CI users. She did a master’s research at Conservatorium ArtEZ into the possibilities of music with a CI. The results of this have been processed in a Musi-CI training. 

In this lecture we also introduced H.G.X.M. Thomeer. He is an ENT specialist and part of the care group cochlear implantation Utrecht of the UMC Utrecht. He has had a lot of contact with Mrs Veltman after her surgery and after receiving her CI. Together with Mrs Veltman, he enlightened us about the clinical aspects of the cochlear implant and the performed surgery. During this lecture, it became clear what impact the recovery of a sense such as hearing has on the quality of life of a patient.