Dear Mr Lavy,
At the beginning of this year I was quite depressed. My hearing was deteriorating fast and even wearing hearing aids in both ears wasn’t really helping me. I used amplifiers on all my telephones and struggled to communicate.
Two years ago I had retrained and qualified as both stockbroker and financial adviser and was opening an office in the New Forest. It should have been an exciting time for me but my hearing difficulties were holding me back.
I found that I was guessing more and more in conversations with everyone and at the end of each day I was exhausted from the effort of concentrating so hard.
I withdrew from social outings, was infuriated by radio and television and felt isolated and lonely. People could be laughing and joking all round me but I couldn’t hear enough to share their jokes and often switched off from everything.
I was extremely worried that my employers would ask me to leave if they ever found out how deaf I was and I fought hard to avoid anyone ever discovering. This put an enormous strain on me and I was constantly stressed and tired and suffered from frequent headaches. I repeatedly asked my consultant at my local hospital for a stapedectomy but he repeatedly refused my request. He emphasised the risks if the operation were to fail and scared me into thinking it was not a good idea. He offered me hearing aids which would screw into my head as an alternative to my behind the ear ones and told me that I was better off with hearing aids. This added to my depression.
After one visit I returned home and searched on the internet for any information on otosclerosis. Your name appeared over and over, together with your email address. I sent you an email and you answered me within minutes. You answered my questions simply and clearly without over dramatising and you gave me hope.
On the morning of my operation, I remember being wheeled into the operating theatre and seeing happy smiling faces all around me. I felt safe and knew I was in good hands. Towards the end of the operation when you were preparing to test my hearing I didn’t know what to expect. You asked me to repeat a series of numbers to you and when you spoke I was surprised by the clarity and clear tone of your voice in my ear.
The sound of the human voice is truly the most beautiful sound on this earth! Tears overwhelmed me – it was such a fantastic moment in my life, almost like beginning a new life. Now my life is wonderful!
I no longer have to strain to make sense of conversations and can even hear people when they’re standing behind me.
I am enjoying my work once again and my family life is so much happier. I think my children had become used to solving problems between themselves, I could never hear them and repeating their questions over and over was tiresome for them.
Now we have such fun! Everything is easier and I smile all day long!
I think, unless you have suffered hearing loss, it would be hard to comprehend how very different sounds are when heard via hearing aids as opposed to natural hearing.
All I can do is simply say “THANK YOU” to each and every one of you at the hospital.
You have changed my life and I shall always be grateful to you all.
9th July 2014
Dear Mr Lavy,
Here is my story-
I am a 57yr old female with a diagnosed mixed deafness (mild and moderate) at the age of 32 yrs. I wear bilateral super hearing aids (privately purchased) because my hearing was diagnosed as 80-90% hearing loss (severe).I also have a nerve deafness which is in the mid- mild to moderate range and the otosclerosis is where my main hearing loss shows on audiogram.
In the last 3 years I have acquired bilateral tinnitus which also seems to be accompanied by sharp pains in both ears on a daily basis.
I saw an ENT surgeon in my district about 5 yrs ago and we discussed possible stapedectomies in the future but he was reluctant to do surgery because of the high risk of going completely deaf. I discussed that the risk was a 50/50 chance of complete deafness and he and my audiologist confirmed this.
(My local ENT surgeon confirmed with me that he does 8 stapedectomies a year- Mr Lavy does around 200 a year)!
Last year on the 11th Dec 2013 I googled ‘Stapedectomy’ and one my searches opened into Mr Jeremy Lavy’s website. http://stapedectomy.co.uk/html/feedback.html
I read the patient reviews and I could not believe what I was reading –
A 0.4% chance of a dead ear- not 50% risk? They also said if you emailed him he would reply, so I did and got an email back 2 hours later that he could help me!
Suffice is to say my GP referred me to the Royal National Throat, Nose & Ear Hospital (RNTNEH) in London and it did state that I might see the registrar (Charlie who is also great I have to say) but I managed to see the King himself. Mr Lavy booked me for surgery with the premise that he could halve my hearing loss and give me back 2 decades of hearing !!
I honestly could not believe it but I felt entirely confident and comfortable with my decision to have the operation. Mr Lavy is a kind, caring and approachable man who happens to be an ENT Surgeon.
On a day in May 2014 I went to the said hospital and went for the surgery. The whole team was efficient, compassionate, informative and professional at all times.
The surgery is done under conscious sedation (you are awake but sedated). A local injection into the back of your ear and 2 local injections in your ear. They then prep you with a surgical drape and cleaning solution.
All you have to do is stay still (I got a little restless at the very end) no pain at all and only the sound of the operation as they work on the bones in the ear. Sounds horrific but it is all plain sailing I promise!
The sweetest words were after 45 minutes- ‘Mrs Pitman can you hear me’ and I could – Loud and crystal clear- I could NOT believe it!!
The post operative phase was trouble free- slight unsteadiness the first few days, relatively pain free and the packing was removed in the 2nd week (no pain). I was stone deaf for the first 10 days in that ear and I was a bit concerned but then on the 11th day onwards I started to hear even with the packing in.
I cannot believe how lucky I am to have found such an amazing surgeon and team. My audiogram 6 weeks later shows my hearing loss in that ear is now only 50-55 db loss and NOT 90 to 95 db. I can hear a conversation in that ear, take a phone call WITHOUT a hearing aid, hear some of the birds, and the TV‘s volume is now reduced by half.
The only problem I have is I can now hear my partner snoring (never could before)!! So after the other ear is done I may need ear plugs at night!
What an amazing, humbling and gratifying experience and how I salute these amazing surgeons and staff for the work that they do.
How do you thank someone who has given you back half of your hearing?
By spreading the word and telling everyone that there is hope, people do care and there is a huge rainbow with a pot of gold!
THANK YOU Mr Lavy and ALL your team for your brilliant and amazing work – keep it up and be so proud of the excellent work that you do.
I first realized I may have Otosclerosis after my hearing rapidly deteriorated and I visited an audiologist in London. He explained that I could try hearing aids or undertake a stapedectomy operation. One evening tinnitus in my left ear suddenly started when I was at home in Tokyo. As a Science teacher I found my hearing loss and tinnitus incredibly stressful and worrying so I did some research on the internet and found Mr. Lavy’s website. Initially, my mum phoned Mr. Lavy’s office and found the staff very helpful. I booked an appointment and had to borrow hearing aids from my local hospital so I could still work until I could fly back to London. I attended my appointment at Harley Street with my parents and Mr. Lavy was very welcoming and took lots of time to answer all of our questions and concerns. I had a hearing test with Mr. Lavy’s audiologist who was also very friendly and professional. Before the appointment I was unsure about what to expect but after the details of the operation had been explained to me I knew that I should take the risk. I found it comforting to know that Mr. Lavy is one of the best surgeon in the world at carrying out stapedectomies as he does them so frequently and with an incredibly high success rate. After my initial appointment it was only a week or so until the day of my operation in my right ear. I was waiting nervously in the reception of the London Clinic with my parents when Mr. Lavy came in and his smile put us all at ease. I was scared to have the operation under local anesthetic in case I might move and I hate needles. However, I was sedated and a theatre nurse held my hand throughout the operation. I found it comforting that I could see her face under the surgical drape and she kept checking to see if I was ok. It was reassuring that Mr. Lavy kept checking to see that I was ok too and I liked listening to his music during the operation! I found it helpful that he let me know if there was going to be a big noise in my ear or if I was going to feel something unusual or a bit painful. He really put me at ease. The operation felt faster than I thought and at the end I was even given my stapes bone to take home. My mum had asked for a dvd recording, which Mr. Lavy passed onto me. My parents have watched it, I haven’t watched it though! I was surprised that all I needed after the operation was some ibuprofen after the anesthetic had eased off. I had a good sleep in my hospital room and I was well enough to travel across London later in the day. The day afterwards I was well enough to travel from London to Lancashire with my parents in their car. My ear bled a bit and I had strange, loud noises but after a few weeks that disappeared. I was really happy because I knew the operation had worked as my hearing was a lot better than before. I remember realising the improvement when I was watching TV with my parents. I was amazed that I could hear it at the normal volume! I was very careful when taking a bath and washing my hair because I really didn’t want to get my ear wet but I followed Mr. Lavy’s simple instructions and my mum helped me wash my hair so I was fine. After about 6 weeks I had a checkup appointment at Mr. Lavy’s office and I had my hearing test with the audiologist again, I was hoping it would be good news but it was even better than I expected. I was so happy and relieved! I went back to Japan and soon decided that I wanted to have a stapedectomy in my left ear too because my right ear had been so successful. After two operations on my left ear my hearing improved. I’m so happy that I can still work as a teacher as I love my job! I’m extremely grateful for Mr. Lavy being able improve my hearing and change my life! I highly recommend his expertise and professionalism and you should feel safe knowing that you are in the hands of the most experienced and successful surgeon in the world at this operation. Thank you, Mr. Lavy!
Although I knew my hearing, or total lack thereof, was impacting negatively on every part of my life, I remained resistant to CI as I didn’t like to make a fuss, felt I coped brilliantly and was fearful of the surgery
Seeing Prof Saeed changed my life. In fact he gave me back not only my life but me. His bluntness about my non functionality, his clarity about the long term impact on the brain of no aural stimulation coupled with the isolation I was choosing acted as the spur I badly needed to move me from denial to acceptance and action
The whole process was extraordinary from beginning to end. And I felt totally safe in Prof’s amazing hands. Like the Wizard of Oz I moved from black and white to full technicolour at switch on. My trajectory was super-fast and that same night I was on the telephone to friends who I’d not been able to call for years.
I no longer stare at peoples lips but look into their eyes, I hear whispers even in the dark, I travel the world, I work again, I listen to birdsong and I hear all the incredible sounds of life around me
CI is a total miracle
I am back from the silent land and daily gratefully full of joy
I attended Professor Shakeel’s clinic with significant symptoms relating to SSCD and following a high definition scan, received a positive diagnosis. Upon a discussion of my options, I elected to undertake surgery to fix the ‘third window’ in my semi-circular canal. The process was very simple, arriving early on a Saturday, and going into theatre a short while after. In the recovery room, I had my ear bandaged which came off the following morning. Professor Shakeel came to see me the day of the surgery and again the morning after. I was released after the dressing was removed. I suffered no significant pain, and the advice to sleep propped up for a week or so, was no great hardship. A week or so later, I attended my GP to get the sutures removed. Now, six weeks after the op, apart from tinnitus (which I had before anyway), my SSCD related symptoms have lessened markedly, with no heartbeat noise, voice resonance, or footstep sounds. This has greatly improved my quality of life and my ability to sleep through the night.
I went to Prof Saeed to see if there were any options to help with my single sided deafness. He understood my desire to help alleviate the issues I had in busy and noisy environments. He quickly came up with a plan to do some investigations and offered me a bone bridge implant. I had the surgery a few weeks later which has benefitted me greatly. Prof is a fantastic surgeon with a very personable patient manner.
In around 2004 I achieved my goal as a police officer of securing a job on the Flying Squad in the Metropolitan Police. I had to attend a medical in order for a firearms course. I had noticed prior to this medical a slight reduction in my hearing but paid little attention. The hearing test was conclusive I had partial hearing. It was deemed so poor I was offered the opportunity to withdraw from front line policing and scope early retirement. I was thirty four. I was devastated and sought immediate help from the NHS I was diagnosed with otosclerosis but told surgery was out the question due to my job. I took the path of having inner ear hearing aids but found them cumbersome and awkward. It was a fairly low point as can be imagined. I researched the origins of the disease and in turn found on the web found Dct Lavy. I sent an email and saw him only a few weeks later. After a hearing test he booked me in for an operation on one of my ears within only a few months.
I have had three operations (with two ears? I will explain) and each one has gone perfectly well. You will arrive at the Kings Cross hospital where the staff are extremely dexterous, attentive and understanding.
After only a few minutes an anaesthetist will attend check your pulse (it will be fast) and ask you several questions. Again, like the whole of Dct Lavy’s team very proficient and considerate. Dct Lavy will usually bimble along and explain everything will be fine much like a spitfire pilot. You then a short time later are taken up and administered the drugs just before surgery. The offer of watching the surgery is always there- I find this notion odd and cannot understand why anyone would want to watch themselves being operated on. However, each to their own.
The surgery is surprisingly very quick and the pain minimal. You will wake I guarantee to wonder why someone has turned a radio on. They haven’t it was on all the time. It’s a fantastic magical feeling before the drugs wear off and the bad bit starts. After surgery you are wheeled to another team who will talk you through mundane material purely to identify how you are. It wasn’t until my third op that I identified this – illustrates my naivety. You are then taken to the ward where again the staff will help in any way possible to make you feel comfortable. All being well you leave at around 5pm to be amazed at how noisy the Euston Road is in London.
Now the three ops part – After my first op I noticed some slippage and returned to Dct Lavy I had another op as the tiny piston was not positioned correctly. This went well and I returned to have my other ear done a year or so later.
There is a little pain and discomfort. I suffered quite badly from dizzy spells and you do need to factor in at least a week off work. I tried to walk my dogs shortly after one op and regretted it instantly (especially as boxers pull). The minuscule dressing is removed a few weeks later and this is painless. The first few days are the worst and there is a feeling of some nausea however, if I have had three operations it should be evident that all is worth it.
Again, like everything around the whole experience a distinct wrap around you ‘become’ one of Dct Lavy’s chosen few (many) you return for regular check-ups and there is that real aftercare. He is a superb individual and a fantastic credit to the NHS.
My advice would be to not even ‘think’ about it but to go for it. It has been truly life changing I have since secured three promotions and this I believe is directly linked to my ability to be able to communicate to a far higher level. Conversations are normal, the television, the radio are at an acceptable level. I do have tinnitus and I don’t have the same level of hearing as a normal person but it is so far superior than it was. Good luck you will never regret it.
I found out I had otosclerosis in both ears, during 2011, when pregnant with my 2nd child, although I had suspected I had the condition in my left ear after I had given birth to my first child. I knew my father and grandmother had the same condition so knew there was a likelihood I would develop it.
After struggling to cope hearing at work and in social situations and most importantly with my family, I tried hearing aids. This made life slightly easier again but was by no means the same as ‘proper’ hearing. The hearing aids caused outer ear infections, which were incredibly painful. It was at this time, after my 2nd child was born, that I decided to research the stapedectomy operation. I searched online and there were many recommendations for Mr Jeremy Lavy. A short while later I discovered a friend who also had otosclerosis, she had had a successful stapedectomy operation by Mr Jeremy Lavy, so I requested my GP refer me.
I happily decided to proceed with the stapedectomy in my right ear, after a consultation with Jeremy Lavy. I was very nervous and emotional on the day of the operation – 4th October 2013 – but Jeremy Lavy and his team were really kind and talked me through all the stages of the operation. They were confident, friendly, lighthearted and helped me feel at ease. I felt even more relaxed after the sedation! The operation itself was quick and painless. After the operation I think I was in a mild state of shock, because I was so happy and relieved it had been successful. We knew it had worked well as before the packing was placed in the ear canal, at the end of the operation, Jeremy Lavy talked into my operated ear and I could hear him very clearly!
The only side effect I have experienced was approximately an hour of dizziness directly after the operation. The recovery was fine, although any worry I experienced I simply emailed Jeremy Lavy and he replied straight away with reassurance or advice. Since then I have never looked back.
The operation has honestly changed my life, in so many ways. My confidence is back and I am able to cope easily with everyday situations which prior to the operation were becoming increasingly difficult. I’m very happy and would highly recommend Jeremy Lavy and his team. I plan to have the stapedectomy in my left ear in the near future, although it’s not immediately necessary since the right stapedectomy was such a huge success. Thank you, thank you so much!
I was diagnosed with Otosclerosis and thought after reading about it that I was slowly going to go deaf and my only option was a hearing aid and maybe surgery that was not very successful . After seeing Mr Lavy this completely changed, he gave me all the options as well as surgery and gave me confidence in the results. I understood the risks but a result of better hearing definitely out weighed them. I had the surgery last year and it was the best thing I have done. It has completely changed my life. My hearing improved by over 30% and it is such a pleasure not to have to ask everything to be repeated . If any one is thinking of having this operation and consulting with Mr Lavy and I would really recommend it. Mr Lavy is a talented doctor with a great bed side manner but even more importantly he is a brilliant surgeon.