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

B.C's COVID-19 dashboard shows the peaks and valleys of cases prior to the record daily report of 132 on April 9, 2021. (Dashboard image)
Interior Health has record day of COVID-19 cases

132 cases reported Friday, April 9, more deaths in Vernon hospital outbreak

A mushroom grower plans to plan new mushrooms in fallen trees in the Kaslo Community Forest. File photo
Kaslo mushroom farmer given green light for unique project

Robin Mercy will plant mushrooms in the Kaslo Community Forest

Alison Watson spotted this mama bear and her cub up an oak tree in Warfield last fall. Photo: Alison Watson
Secure your trash; Bears are awaking in Greater Trail and they’re hungry

Trash is the most reported attractant involved in human-bear conflicts

Eileen Truant Pedersen shows the wartime metal band inscribed “Oro Alla Patria,” that was passed down in the family. Photo: Jim Bailey
Trail Blazers: The story of the metal wedding band 86 years on

Eileen Truant Pedersen has been writing about her family, and local history, for years.

Rossland council approved the design of a potential development on Washington St. Photo: Jim Bailey
Rossland development design given green light

Aerie development provides five efficiently designed units to add to affordable housing stock.

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
Vehicle launched into B.C. Walmart removed following rescue of trapped workers

Crews cut new hole in parkade wall to remove vehicle safely

Four members with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans were out at Cultus Lake on March 28 and 29 hauling trash out of the waters. (Henry Wang)
PHOTOS: Out-of-town divers remove 100s of pounds of trash from Cultus Lake

Members of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans hauled out 470 pounds of trash over two days

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

A new saline gargle test, made in B.C., will soon be replacing COVID-19 nasal swab tests for kids. (PHSA screenshot)
Take-home COVID-19 tests available for some B.C. students who fall ill at school

BC Children’s Hospital plans to provide 1,200 kits to Vancouver district schools this April

Ruming Jiang and his dog Chiu Chiu are doing fine following a brush with hypothermia that saw several people work together to get them out of the Fraser River near Langley’s Derby Reach Park on March 25, 2021 (Special to the Advance Times)
Man finds men who rescued him from drowning in B.C.’s Fraser River

A grateful Ruming Jiang says he will thank them again, this time in person when the pandemic ends

Tyson Ginter, 7, is proud of his latest Hot Wheels he recently received by Quesnel RCMP Const. Matt Joyce. (Photo submitted)
B.C. Mountie handing out toy cars to light up children’s faces

‘A lot of times it will be the only interaction they have with the police,’ says Const. Matt Joyce

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, Friday, January 15, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s ICUs see near-record of COVID-19 patients last week as variant cases double

Last week, Canadian hospitals treated an average of 2,500 patients with COVID-19, daily, up 7% from the previous week

Most Read