Do you have a PVP shunt?
If you have no idea what we’re talking about, then, chances are, you don’t. However, if you have hydrocephalus, a build-up of fluid in the brain caused by excess cerebrospinal fluid, and you have had a PVP fitted, you must tell us before you have a hearing assessment.
The pressure caused by the excess fluid is usually resolved with a surgically implanted device that drains the fluid away. These devices are known as shunts, and some are programmable – known as PVP shunts. PVP shunts have a magnetically adjustable valve placed under the skin, often on or near the mastoid bone, so that they can be adjusted by an external control magnet if required.
However, the magnetic valve in some PVP shunts can be susceptible to other external magnetic fields and may be readjusted by relatively weak fields, leading to a potentially dangerous change in pressure.
Why is this a problem if you have a PVP shunt and are looking for hearing care?
Some audiology equipment and hearing aid devices, including Cochlear implants, some earphones, bone conductors and otoacoustic emission probes generate a magnetic field, and may risk inadvertently adjusting the PVP. The latest guidance from the British Society of Audiology is that this equipment must be kept at least 5cm from the shunt at all times.
What do you need to know and do?
Following new guidance from the British Society of Audiology (BSA), we are asking all clients to tell us if they have a PVP shunt when they book their hearing assessment appointment. If possible, please tell us the make and model of your PVP shunt as this will enable us to assess the level of risk involved in testing your hearing and potentially fitting you with hearing aids.
If you have had a baby and they have had a PVP shunt fitted, the BSA advises that they should not undergo newborn hearing screening. Likewise, children with a PVP shunt should not undergo school hearing screening. Little ones like these should be referred to your local audiology service for alternative methods of testing. The Hearing Clinic offers alternative testing options, so do contact us to find out more.
Here for you
At The Hearing Clinic we work closely with the manufacturers of the equipment we use and the hearing aids we sell to fully understand any risk they pose to clients with PVP shunts. If you have a PVP shunt fitted that is highly sensitive to magnetic fields we are here to support you with safe methods to test your hearing, and to help you enjoy the hearing experience you deserve.