BC Adult Cochlear Implant Program - Patient Supports

A list of various organizations and programs that provide support to cochlear implant recipients.

Exterior of St. Paul's Hospital

Accommodation

The following hotels are within one or two blocks of the hospital:

Other alternatives include Easter Seals House  and the YWCA Hotel. Note: You require a medical letter from a social worker to stay at the YWCA hotel.

Advocacy

Canadian Hard of Hearing Association (CHHA)

CHHA is a non-profit, self-help, bilingual consumer organization run by and for persons who are hard of hearing. The philosophy of CHHA is to produce knowledgeable hard of hearing consumers who understand how to have their needs met. Its mission is to raise public awareness concerning issues that are important for persons who are hard of hearing, to promote their integration in Canadian society, to remove any barriers to their participation and to generally make every community in Canada a better place for persons who are hard of hearing.

Disability Alliance of BC (DABC) Advocacy Access Program

Advocates help people to apply for and appeal the denial of provincial and federal (Canada Pension Plan [CPP-D]) disability benefits. Assistance is available in person (by appointment), by phone or email.

POVNET

A website that links you to an advocate in communities across BC.

Cochlear implant manufacturers

You will have the choice between three cochlear implant manufacturers. These are listed below in alphabetical order.

For more information , visit their websites and/or contact their representatives:

  1. Advanced Bionics: Cochlear Implant Specialist, Kimberly Dreifelds - Kimberly.Dreifelds@advancedbionics.com
  2. Cochlear Americas: Cochlear Implant Engagement Manager, Bowen Tang - botang@cochlear.com
  3. Medel: Cochlear Implant Consumer Engagement Manager, Kim Twitchell - Kim.Twitchell@medel.com

Daily activities

Wavefront Centre for Communication Accessibility

Wavefront is a non-profit agency that strives to offer high quality services to Deaf, Deafened, and Hard of Hearing individuals through innovative products, services, and programs that help to promote accessibility equal to that of the hearing public.

Island Deaf and Hard of Hearing (IDHH)

IDDH is a non-profit agency on Vancouver Island that provides counseling and support services to people dealing with a hearing loss, including Deaf, Deafened, Hard of Hearing individuals, and their families.

Neil Squire Society

Neil Squire Society empowers Canadians with disabilities in the workplace and society through the use of computer-based assistive technologies, research and development, and various employment programs, including the Technology @ Work program which can provide people with disabilities assistive technology to remove work or volunteer barriers.

Listening practice | communication strategies

There are many ways in which you can improve communication on your own. You can do this using various listening practice and communication strategies.

Vancouver Community College Program for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Adults

Offers a variety of full time and part time courses and programs for people with hearing loss.

Cochlear Implant Support Group

This is a privately organized support group run by cochlear implant recipient, Rick Waters. Meetings are held monthly on Saturdays from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. You can contact Rick via email at rwmgtc@gmail.com or text: 604-787-7425.

Financial assistance

Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction

Provides B.C. residents in financial need with a system of financial supports. Applicants much meet financial eligibility criteria based on income and assets.

Canada Pension Plan Disability Benefits (CPP-D)

A taxable monthly payment that is available to people who have contributed to the CPP and who are not able to work regularly because of a disability.

**We recommend getting the help of an advocate to help you fill out your CPP-D application.

In Vancouver

Elsewhere in BC

Employment Insurance (EI) Sick Benefits

EI provides sickness benefits to those who are unable to work because of sickness or injury.

Medical expense tax credit

You can claim this non-refundable tax credit for a wide range of medical and related expenses. Eligible expenses include health care services, travel expenses (transportation, meals and accommodation), home renovations to install medical equipment, drugs, dental services and health insurances.

Disability tax credit

A non-refundable tax credit that taxpayers with disabilities can use to reduce the amount of income tax they have to pay. It includes a supplement for children under 18. The credit can be back-dated to when you first qualified for a hearing disability.

Income tax filing assistance

Tax Aid DABC

Volunteer Tax Preparation Clinics

Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP)

This federal program helps low-income people and people on income assistance save money over the long-term. It does this through a combination of personal contributions (self, family), and federal contributions (grants, bonds).

Medical Services Plan

MSP premiums were eliminated in January 2020. MSP supplementary benefits provide partial payment for certain medical services obtained in British Columbia and may provide access to other income-based programs.

Homeowners additional grant

The homeowner’s grant reduces the amount of property taxes you pay each year on your principal residence. If you are a person living with a disability, you may be eligible to apply for an additional grant on top of the basic grant.

Third party payers

Several funding options are available to offset the costs of your cochlear implants.

  • Veteran’s Affairs Canada: You may be eligible for benefits if your hearing loss is a result of your service.
  • ICBC: if your hearing loss is related to a car accident you were involved in.
  • WorkSafe BC: if your hearing loss is work-related.
  • First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) Benefits: If you have Indigenous status, FNHA will assist with the costs associated with cochlear implant equipment, maintenance and medical travel. For more information about coverage and how to apply, speak to your Band health services or visit the FNHA website.
  • Post-secondary institutions: If you are a student at a post-secondary school, you may be eligible for grants, loans, bursaries, and subsidies. Contact your school’s Disability Coordinator to ask about the Permanent Disabilities Program Application.
  • Extended Health Benefits: If you are covered by extended health benefits, your plan might cover cover cochlear implant equipment.
  • Persons With Disabilities (PWD) Benefits: If you have PWD benefits through the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, your medical benefits will cover the equipment costs necessary to maintain your cochlear implant sound processor. The benefits also cover your medical transportation costs to attend appointments. For more information, speak to your social worker.

WorkBC assistive technology

This program provides equipment and devices to help individuals thrive in the workplace.

Hearing aids funding support

These organizations provide refurbished hearing aids for a nominal fee. Their programs as for people who cannot afford to purchase new hearing aids. Financial eligibility will be determined by the program.

Telus Mobility for Good

Telus Mobility for Good offers subsidized mobile phone plans for people with disabilities, low-income families and low-income seniors. It also offers free refurbished smartphones and plans for youth leaving foster care and Indigenous women at risk or surviving violence.

Fuel tax refund for persons with disabilities

Individuals with certain disabilities may apply for a refund of the provincial motor fuel tax they pay on gasoline, diesel or propane used in their vehicle.

Autoplan disability discount

If you've been approved for a fuel tax refund under the B.C. government Fuel Tax Refund Program for Persons with Disabilities, you may also qualify for a 25 per cent discount on your Basic Autoplan—even if you don't drive the vehicle you're insuring. Eligible drivers must bring appropriate documentation to their Autoplan broker's office to have the discount applied to their policy.

Shelter aid for elderly renters (SAFER)

This program helps make rents affordable for BC seniors with low to moderate incomes. SAFER provides monthly cash payments to subsidize rents for eligible BC residents who are age 60 or over.

BC Rent Bank

Interest-free loans to help low-to-moderate income renters who are struggling to pay rent and/or essential utilities (gas/hydro).

Quest food exchange

Quest Food Exchange is a not-for-profit grocery store chain that provided affordable grocery shopping at one of five Lower Mainland locations.

Mental Wellness

Living with progressive or sudden hearing loss can be devastating to a person. Social isolation and feelings of grief, loss, and depression are common while waiting for a cochlear implant. If you feel like these negative emotions are interfering with your ability to function, it is important to get help.

Deaf, Hard of Hearing & Deaf-Blind Well-Being Program

A government funded mental health service for those with any kind of hearing loss: those with sudden or progressive hearing loss, or who are late or early deafened. All services are confidential and free of charge.

Island Deaf and Hard of Hearing Centre

Island Deaf and Hard of Hearing Centre is a non-profit agency on Vancouver Island that provides counselling and support services to people dealing with a hearing loss, including, Deaf, Deafened, Hard of Hearing individuals, and their families.

Private counselling

Some counsellors specialize in deaf and hard of hearing issues. You can search these websites by area of practice to find someone who fits your needs.

Family doctor

If you feel overwhelmed by sadness and grief, and find that you cannot function because of these feelings, you should talk to your family doctor. Your doctor can discuss your options for managing these feelings.

If you do not have a family doctor and need primary care, visit Pathways Medical Care Directory to find out how you can access care. Medimap offers a list of walk-in clinics in Vancouver.

BC newcomers

If you have recently moved to BC, you will need to enroll in BC’s provincial health plan, Medical Services Plan (MSP), immediately. New (and returning) residents are required to complete a three-month wait period consisting of the balance of the month in which residence in British Columbia starts, plus two months before benefits can begin. New residents from other parts of Canada will maintain coverage with their former provincial medical plan during the wait period.

For more information on MSP and to enroll in MSP:

Medical Services Plan (MSP) for British Columbia (B.C.) Residents

If you are planning a move to BC and already have a cochlear implant, you will need to contact your audiologist to have them transfer your cochlear implant chart and mapping file (.cdx, .mpd, .xml) to us. When you arrive in BC, please contact our office at 604-806-9616 or email us at ci@providencehealth.bc.ca to make an appointment with an audiologist for the long-term care and management of your cochlear implant.

Seniors

Advance Care Planning

If you become unable to express your wishes and make decisions about your health care, your medical team will look to those closest to you for direction and consent. It is important that those closest to you understand what your values and wishes would be should you be unable to speak for yourself. Advance care planning starts with talking with your close family, friends and health care provider(s) so that they know the health care treatment you would agree to, or refuse, if you become incapable of expressing your own decisions.

The Province of British Columbia and the BC Centre for Palliative Care Association have resources to support you.

BC Seniors Guide

The BC Seniors' Guide has consolidated information and resources specific to aging including information on benefits, health, lifestyle, housing, transportation, finances, safety and security, and other services.

Senior’s Advocate

The Office of the Seniors Advocate is an independent office of the B.C. provincial government acting in the interest of seniors and their caregivers. It monitors services for seniors and has an information and referral line available 24 hours/day.

The referral line has senior service specialists available to answer your calls during office hours to provide resources and help resolve issues. Staff at bc211 will assist after hours.

Call us at 1-877-952-3181 (toll free) or 250-952-3181 or visit their website.

The Office of the Seniors Advocate

Seniors BC

Comprehensive information on healthy aging and resources for seniors, their caregivers and their families.

Transfer from BC Children’s Hospital

Patients that transfer to the BC Adult Cochlear Implant Program from BC Children's Hospital (BCCH) can feel nervous about the change. Our team will work with you to make this transition as smooth as possible. When you are ready to transfer, your audiologist at BCCH will send your file to us after your last appointment. Once we receive your file, you will receive a welcome letter, asking you to contact our clinic to book your first follow-up appointment with your new audiologist and social worker at St. Paul's Hospital.

When you come for your first visit, we will give you a tour of our program. We will also introduce you to our team and help guide you through the differences you may encounter as a new patient of the BC Adult Cochlear Implant program.

Making the transition from childhood to adulthood can be challenging. Please look at our Mental Wellness and Youth-specific sections to learn more about what support is available for young adults.

Cochlear implant clinic contact information: 604-806-9616 or ci@providencehealth.bc.ca

Transportation

Travel assistance program (TAP)

This provincial program that waives the cost of BC Ferries. It also discounts participating transportation partners for non-emergent specialist appointments.

Hope Air

Hope Air is a charitable organization that provides free flights to non-emergent medical appointments. You much meet financial eligibility criteria.

Health Connections

Health Connections is a health authority based regional travel assistance program. It offers subsidized transportation options to help reduce costs for rural residents who must travel to obtain non-emergency, physician-referred medical care outside their home communities.

HandyDART

Operated by Translink, HandyDART is a door-to-door, wheelchair-accessible service for passengers with physical or cognitive disabilities who are unable to use conventional public transit without assistance. The driver will come to your home, help you into the vehicle, and get you to the door of your destination safely.

SN transport

Non-emergency stretcher, wheelchair and ambulatory patient transfer service, fee-for-service. Door to door transportation services to or from hospital for patients who require safe, accessible, reliable transport but who do not need medical monitoring. The driver will come to your home, help you into the vehicle will bring you directly to your appointment.

BC Ferries disabled status identification discount

Discounted fares are available for residents of British Columbia who have a permanent disability. To receive the discounted fare you must apply for a BC Ferries’ Disabled Status Identification Card and present your card to the Ticket Agent when you arrive at the terminal.

Easter seals disability travel card

This Disability Travel Card is intended for people with disabilities who require the assistance of a support person when traveling. The Card offers its holder discounts to the support person in attendance with them when traveling with participating partners Via Rail and Coach Canada.

Youth

Young adults network

The Young Adults Network (YAN) is a non-profit network of young adults aged 18-35 with varying degrees of hearing loss that strives to educate communities about hearing loss, to provide resources and support to young adults with hearing loss so they can become productive members of society, and to foster connections and active leadership amongst our membership.

Foundry

Foundry offers young people ages 12-24 health and wellness resources, services and supports – online and through integrated service centres in communities across BC.

Directions Youth Services - Vancouver

Directions Youth Services (a division of Family Services of Greater Vancouver) offers low-barrier programs and services to support youth under the age of 25 who are in crisis or experiencing homelessness as a result of abuse, neglect, substance use, or mental health challenges. We welcome and serve all youth.

Provincial Family Services

Provincial program that provides support to Deaf or Hard of Hearing youth or young adult up to age 24 with planning for transition to adulthood including support with access to resources.

IDA Institute: Growing up with Hearing Loss

Growing Up with Hearing Loss is an interactive platform to help children and young adults with hearing loss and their families successfully manage key transitions and use them as opportunities to learn, grow, and discover new things about themselves and the world.

Vancouver Parents Transition Group

The Vancouver Parents Transition Group is an education and support group for parents of youth with disabilities who are transitioning to adulthood. The group meets once per month and features guest speakers who provide information and support to families.

Family Smart

Parent peer support provides help for children and young people by helping their family and other caring adults.

They provide emotional support, information, resources, and help in navigating services for parents & caregivers of a child, youth or young adult with a mental health and/or substance use challenge.

Community Living BC Transition Planning

Offers transitioning to adulthood planning for youth with disabilities; for some youth, transition planning includes applying for support through Community Living BC.