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)

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

Duncan man one of the first to test virtual mapping program

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.

“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.”

The 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.”



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

Members of the 4-H Horse Club enjoy the annual horse camp at the Cowichan Exhibition grounds. (submitted)
Farm Credit Canada supports Cowichan 4-H club with cash

On the list of recipients is the Cowichan 4-H Horse Club out of Cobble Hill.

Flanked by CVOLC staff members Kevin van der Linden, Nate Boersen, Lisa Kellar and Neil Ellingson, Ryan Linehan receives his Student of the Month award from Rotary representatives Gregg Perry and Kim Barnard. 
(Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan Valley Open Learning Collective ‘ambassador’ named Student of the Month

Ryan Linehan earns award for demonstrating natural leadership

Duncan Christian’s Grace George lines up a shot during the three-point portion of the BC School Sports Pandemic Basketball Challenge after taking a pass from Cam Stevens. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Duncan Christian leads the way in pandemic basketball challenge

School tops participation numbers for second time this year

An Island Health nurse prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo courtesy Island Health)
Health authority opening 19 clinics to immunize Vancouver Island residents

Health authority anticipates more than 40,000 people will be immunized over the next month

‘It was a great week for Jan Pullinger, MLA. She accompanied Andrew Petter, the new Minister of Health to Lake Cowichan. He credited her with saving the Youbou mill. Left to right, Jan, Petter and Sam Beldessi, president of the Cowichan Seniors. Pullinger and Petter were visiting the Seniors’ Centre.’ (Lake News, March 6, 1996)
Lake Flashback: A new library, Peewee sports, and a resignation

Welcome to Lake Flashback. Reporter Sarah Simpson has been combing through old… Continue reading

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Cole Moore with one of his sisters, Jasmin Moore. Photo supplied
Vancouver Island man looks to brain surgery for second chance

Fingers crossed that procedure can give Cole Moore a new lease on life after decade of seizures

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Health Minister Adrian Dix, front, B.C. Premier John Horgan and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrive for a news conference about the provincial response to the coronavirus, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, March 6, 2020. Pandemic emergency measures have been in place for almost a year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. officials plead for patience as 1.7 million COVID-19 calls flood in

Vaccine registration for 90-plus seniors opened Monday

A West Kootenay man died in an avalanche on March 4 while snowmobiling near Mount Payne, which is indicted by the red flag. Illustration: Google Maps
B.C. father of 3 dead after avalanche in West Kootenay

The man was snowmobiling with a group when incident occurred March 4

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Vaccine hesitancy decreases in B.C. as mass immunizations set to begin: poll

Two-thirds of British Columbians, and Canadians, would get the vaccine as soon as possible

Software engineer Shaimma Yehia, 40, has been forced to re-skill during the COVID-19 pandemic after more than six years of unsuccessfully applying for jobs in B.C.’s tech industry. (Submitted photo/Shaimma Yehia)
Why skilled immigrant women continue to be shut out of B.C.’s booming tech sector

Experienced software engineer Shaimma Yehia, 40, hasn’t found a job since she migrated to Canada 6 years ago

Ron Sivorot, business director at Kennametal’s Langford site, the Greater Victoria facility that made a component being used on NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars. (Jake Romphf, Black Press Media)
NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover digging in with B.C.-made part

Kennametal’s Langford plant’s tooth blank is helping the rover’s drill collect rock cores

Most Read